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Silva, Loroupe Play Favorites’ Roles In New York

Sun., Nov. 2, 1997

The happy couple is back, and New York is at their feet.

This time, they are running for personal glory and a chance to help others.

German Silva and Tegla Loroupe have been virtually adopted by the city, not only because of their running success but also because of their bubbly personalities.

The diminutive marathoners, in turn, have fallen in love with New York.

“I feel like I’m at home here,” said Silva, a 29-year-old Mexican. “This (winning the 1994 and 1995 New York City Marathon) has been a very nice thing in my life. I enjoy the environment.

“The only thing I didn’t like was to see another person win my marathon last year.”

He and Loroupe, the women’s winner the same years as Silva, will both be there today when the New York City Marathon again turns the Big Apple into a runner’s heaven.

With Silva skipping the 1996 race because it was too soon after the Olympics, where he finished sixth, Giacomo Leone of Italy was a surprise winner.

Leone did not receive nearly as much adulation as did Silva for his first New York City victory.

Silva’s initial triumph had some unusual circumstances. Holding a short lead over compatriot Benjamin Paredes about a quarter-mile from the finish, Silva, unfamiliar with the course at the time, made a wrong turn.

A city cop got Silva turned around quickly and he rallied to beat the shocked Paredes by two seconds in the closest finish in the race’s 28-year history.

The following year, the 5-foot-2, 110-pound Silva stayed on the course all the way but didn’t give himself much more margin for error, beating Paul Evans of Britain by 5 seconds.

Loroupe, a 24-year-old Kenyan, missed a third consecutive title last year when she went out at a record pace, then faltered in the late stages and struggled home seventh with cramps and dizziness.

Despite her troubles, the 4-11, 84-pound Loroupe remained the darling of the hundreds of thousands of spectators lining the 26-mile, 385-yard course.

“Go Tegla, go girl,” they exhorted.

Loroupe heard them.

“When I run on the streets here, they give me a lot of advice,” Loroupe said. “They say things like, ‘We love you Tegla.”’ This time, Loroupe will try and run a more disciplined race than a year ago, but off her sensational winning performance of 2 hours, 22 minutes, 7 seconds - the fourth-fastest ever by a woman - at Rotterdam in April, the course record of 2:24:40 by Australia’s Lisa Ondieki in 1992 appears in jeopardy.

Spokane’s Kim Jones, 39, is the top American hope.

, DataTimes

Tags: running

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