- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 16, 2005

BALTIMORE — Ramilia Burangulova is the first to admit it keeps getting tougher and tougher to compete against younger women. But the 44-year-old Russian won the Baltimore Marathon for the second consecutive year yesterday, completing the hilly, windy 26.2-mile course in 2:42:00.

Russian women have won all five runnings of the annual event.

Meanwhile, Mykola Antonenko ended the four-year dominance by Kenyan runners in the men’s race. The 33-year-old Ukrainian made a bold move in the middle stages of the race for a time of 2:15.40.

Burangulova and Antonenko each earned $15,000.

“That was my plan: After 16 miles, I’d change the pace and run faster because I have been training well,” Antonenko said through an interpreter. “I wanted to break the pack.”

He broke the race wide open by attacking the uphill section of the course, which crests between the 20th and 21st miles at Lake Montebello.

Running through Patterson Park and beginning to climb toward the 17th-mile marker, Antonenko pushed the pace with a 5:05 split as the pack whittled down to six. A mile later, he was in the lead for good, by nine seconds, after a 5:09 uphill mile.

Russia’s Mikhail Khobotov nailed down second place after 20 miles and earned $5,000 in 2:17:00. Mindaugas Pukstas, a 27-year-old Lithuanian, was third in 2:18:25, taking home $3,000.

Wilson Komen, a 27-year-old Kenyan who trains in both Santa Fe, N.M., and the District, was fifth in 2:20:28.

“I’m satisfied with that,” he said afterward. “I tried my best. I was thinking 2:17, but my right hamstring cramped at Mile 23.”

Under clear and sunny skies and with a cool breeze from the west, the marathon made its way from near Camden Yards through many of Baltimore’s attractions. But by mid-race it was warm.

Burangulova and fellow Russian Marina Bychkova slowly left three-time champion (2001-03) Elvira Kolpakova, another Russian, on the second passing of the Inner Harbor between the 12th and 13th miles.

Quickly, Burangulova put five seconds between herself and Bychkova by the halfway mark, which she passed in 1:22:06. Bychkova, 29, kept it close, however, until Burangulova went to work and picked up the pace. By Mile 16, her lead was 23 seconds. By Mile 17, it was 37 seconds with no other women in sight.

Burangulova said her heel was sore from the start, a recurring ache from Achilles’ tendon surgery. Yet she had experience on her side, although the course was somewhat different this year.

“I knew from last year what the course was like,” the Gainesville, Fla., resident said through an interpreter. “I knew the pace was slow, so I picked it up and pulled away.”

Pre-race favorite Peter Ayiemi Omea finished sixth with a slow 2:22:44.

“The wind got to me,” he said.

It also got to Baltimore favorite Lee DiPietro, the tall, thin 47-year-old who ran the marathon in more than three hours for the first time in years. But it didn’t bother the 6-foot, 145-pound Antonenko, who sported Bib No.1 and finished that way too.

More than 11,000 athletes were entered in the Baltimore Running Festival, which included the marathon, a sold-out half-marathon, a marathon relay and a 5-kilometer race.

Natalya Berkut, a 30-year-old Ukranian, and Abderrahim Haji, a 27-year-old Moroccan, took top honors in the half-marathon in 1:17:18 and 1:08:16, respectively.

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