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Heather Turland - 1st Aussie in Marathon
By 15km a leading pack of 8 runners was established, led by Suzuki, Catuna and Roba. The pack dropped to 7 at 21km when olympic champion Roba withdrew. At this stage Turland was gaining on a small group of 4 runners some 2 minutes of the lead pack.
At 25km a the lead group was down to 3 runners, still led by Suzuki, who broke away to an unassailable lead by 32km. By this time Nicole Carroll had withdrawn, and Heather Turland was holding 22nd place. Heather picked up 2 more places before finishing 20th in the historic stadium used for the 1896 first modern Olympic games. The finish was marred somewhat by the stadium being almost entirely empty!
Report from the Sydney Morning Herald :
The women's marathon was a disaster. Following the Stockholm stadium bombing, nervous organisers and the Athens mayor banned spectators from the finish, causing mayhem on the streets outside the stadium.
The race was held in oppressive 30-degree morning heat, in full sunshine, and the historic route was strewn with collapsed runners. Almost one-third of the field of 75 did not finish, including Australia's Nicky Carroll and Olympic champion Fatuma Roba from Ethiopia. Medical support facilities to treat the dehydrated and delirious were basic and "very disappointing", according to Australian team doctor Chris Bradshaw.
Australia's leading contender and Bowral mother of four, Heather Turland, said that, on a pain scale of one to 10, childbirth was 10 and the world championship marathon was an eight. Turland almost didn't make it to Athens because of a foot injury. The 37-year-old was determined to finish, regardless of the heat and the other runners collapsing on the course. "That scared me to death," Turland said.
In what was only her second marathon, Turland finished 20th in 2:42:12 and was in tears afterwards because of the emotion and effort of the race. "I just wish my husband and kids were here with me, they didn't come because I was injured and I didn't think I was going to run well. They sent me some faxes to read before the race and they made me cry, too."
The women's marathon was won in 2:29:48 by Japanese newcomer Hiromi Suzuki. Silver went to Portugual's Manuala Machado (2:31:21), who ran with a wilted olive tree leaf pressed to her chest. Bronze medallist Lidia Simon finished in 2:31:55.
Official Results - MARATHON Women - Final Saturday, August 09, 1997 - 8:05 Pos Athlete Country Mark 1 SUZUKI Hiromi JPN 2:29:48 2 MACHADO Manuela POR 2:31:12 3 SIMON Lidia ROM 2:31:55 4 TOBISE Takako JPN 2:32:18 5 FERRARA Ornella ITA 2:33:10 6 BIBA Iris GER 2:34:06 7 KROLIK Sonja GER 2:35:28 8 MOSER Franziska SUI 2:36:16 9 RAZDROGINA Yelena RUS 2:36:37 10 FUJIMURA Nobuko JPN 2:36:51 11 CATUNA Anuta ROM 2:38:38 12 POLIZOU Maria GRE 2:39:10 13 FIACCONI Franca ITA 2:39:53 14 MALLO Christine FRA 2:40:55 15 ALEMU Elfenesh ETH 2:41:00 16 KIRKEBERG Grete NOR 2:41:05 17 LE GALLO Maryse FRA 2:41:08 18 BUIA Aurica ROM 2:41:45 19 HARA Mariko JPN 2:42:00 20 TURLAND Heather AUS 2:42:12 21 RIOS Rocio ESP 2:42:18 22 NAGY Judit HUN 2:42:21 23 MAIR Angharad GBR 2:42:31 24 FOGLI Laura ITA 2:43:28 25 COLLINS Cheryl USA 2:43:42 26 YUDENKOVA Olga BLR 2:43:47 27 VILLANI Anna ITA 2:43:58 28 GOLDSMITH Sally GBR 2:44:20 29 ABE Tomoe JPN 2:45:19 30 OLARUA Nuta ROM 2:47:12 31 VINNITSKAYA Elena BLR 2:47:57 32 VEITH Manuela GER 2:48:45 33 ASSEFA Asselefech ETH 2:48:54 34 MURA Evelyne FRA 2:48:57 35 SANDERSON Danielle GBR 2:49:03 36 KIRTLAND Julia USA 2:49:43 37 KOSACHEVA Anfisa RUS 2:50:29 38 DE OLIVEIRA Grace RSA 2:50:36 39 HOUITTE Gaelle FRA 2:50:38 40 PETERSON Julie USA 2:51:59 41 TIMOFEYEVA Irina RUS 2:53:01 42 NIKOLAKOPOULOU Panagiota GRE 2:54:03 43 LO Man Yi HKG 2:54:59 44 BEKELE Alemitu ETH 2:55:06 45 AMBATZIDOU Georgia GRE 2:56:58 46 VARGAS Marisol MEX 2:58:22 47 HUNTER-ROWE Carolyn GBR 3:01:01 48 ALLISON May CAN 3:01:26 49 BARTOSZEK Danuta CAN 3:01:30 50 TOTO Rita RSA 3:04:05 51 SALINAS Rosa MEX 3:12:55 52 COELLO Gina HON 3:17:33 53 DE SNOO Alexandra ARU 3:22:08 54 DADABAYEVA Gulsara TJK 3:30:45 MAZOVKA Yelena BLR DNF BARUK Galina BLR DNF TECUTA Alina ROM DNF OLIVEIRA Rosa POR DNF COLOMB-JANIN Josette FRA DNF JERSCHABEK Birgit GER DNF ROBA Fatuma ETH DNF ALICO Mary USA DNF VENEGAS Flor CHI DNF SOUMA Chrisoula GRE DNF PITSO Agelina LES DNF REYNA Maria Elena MEX DNF HAAKENSTAD Anita NOR DNF CARROLL Nicole AUS DNF MACCIONI Sonia ITA DNF IVANOVA Alina RUS DNF SALUMAE Jane EST DNF EDATO Gadisay ETH DNF KASTRITI Paraskevi GRE DNF RENDON Lucia MEX DNF VALADKA Patty USA DNF
Ian Kemp Cool Running Australia