Facebook Twitter



Gelindo Bordin let his rivals run themselves out, and Rosa Mota just ran away from hers. The result was the same: victorious firsts in the Boston Marathon on Monday.

Italy's Bordin resisted the temptation of a fast start and "just run by myself" to become the first Olympic champion and first Italian to win the men's marathon.Portugal's Mota became the first to win three women's marathons at Boston, eclipsing the record held by fellow Olympic champion Joan Benoit Samuelson, Ingrid Kristiansen and Miki Gorman.

The 31-year-old Bordin did what nine other men's Olympic champions failed to do by overtaking Tanzania's Juma Ikangaa at Heartbreak Hill and winning in 2 hours, 8 minutes and 19 seconds. It broke the Italian mark of 2:09:27 Bordin set in finishing fourth at Boston in 1988.

"It is not easy being an Olympic champion," Bordin said. "For three or four months, I couldn't move without people stopping me - at a restaurant, on the road, everywhere. If I didn't go, I hurt the sport."

He's about to become even more well-known. The race was broadcast live in Italy, with the announcers screaming as Bordin covered the final yards.

"Gelindo's victory on the streets of Boston brought back for me the emotions of the Olympic Games in Seoul, emotions which I thought couldn't be repeated," Gianni Gola, president of the Italian Track Federation, said. "But today the emotions were even more intense."

For Ikangaa, it was another heartbreaking defeat. It was the third straight time he has finished second at Boston. Ikangaa, a one-second loser to Kenya's Ibrahim Hussein in '88 and beaten by 50 seconds by Abebe Mekonnen of Ethiopia last year, finished 1:33 behind Bordin, in 2:09:52.

Rolando Vera of Ecuador was third in his marathon debut in 2:10:46, a South American record.

Mota, who also won at Boston in 1987 and 1988, led the women's division the entire way, finishing in 2:25:24. Her other winning times were 2:25:21 in 1987 and 2:24:30 in '88.

Mota finished 42nd overall and beat runner-up Uta Pippig of West Germany by nearly three minutes. Pippig finished in 2:28:03, while Maria Trujillo of Mexico was third in 2:28:53.

In the Masters division, 41-year-old John Campbell of New Zealand smashed the Masters world best, clocking 2:11:04 and finished fourth overall. Campbell, sixth in 1988 and fifth last year, erased the mark of 2:11:19 set by New Zealand's Jack Foster in 1974.

World bests also fell in the men's and women's wheelchair divisions.

Moussetapha Badid, 24, of France took more than six minutes off the previous men's mark, winning in 1:29:53. The first eight finishers also went under the mark of 1:36:04 set by Philippe Couprie of France last year at Boston.

Franz Nietlispach of Switzerland was second in 1:31:31 and Couprie third in 1:32:15.

In the women's wheelchair section, Jean Driscoll, 23, of Champaign, Ill., won in 1:43:17, also more than six minutes under the previous mark of 1:50:06, set by Connie Hansen in winning at Boston in 1989.

But it was the stirring performance of the unconventional Bordin who most excited the crowd that lined the 26-mile, 385-yard course from suburban Hopkinton to the finish line at downtown Boston.

Running a smartly paced race, he let a group of African runners burn themselves out with a blistering early pace before making his move over the hills - especially over the grueling Heartbreak Hill, the 20-to-21-mile mark of the race.

"They run crazy - 4:20 the first mile," Bordin said of the Africans. "I understand it's impossible to win the race at that speed. I just run by myself, control my pace."

Bordin is one of 21 children and started running at 14 wearing oversized shoes. Until five years ago, he designed homes, churches and other buildings. And now, in between running, he designs a line of clothing for a sporting goods store he manages in Verona.

This was his first victory since winning the Olympic gold at Seoul.

He and Mota each collected $50,000 from the $350,000 purse.

While Mota's victory was an easy one, there was some drama in the men's field. The group of African runners, including Ikangaa and Hussein, went out so quickly it appeared the world best of 2:06:50 set by Ethiopia's Belayneh Densimo in 1988, would be broken.

But one by one, the group broke up, until Ikangaa was far ahead after 16 miles. By 19 miles, he had stretched his lead to about 120 yards.

Shortly afterward, however, he began experiencing cramps in his left calf and slowed noticeably.

That's when Bordin, running a consistent pace, began making inroads on the faltering Ikangaa. Once he sped past him, Ikangaa could not cover the move, and steadily fell back.

Among the other past Boston winners, Rob de Castella of Australia, who set the course record of 2:07:51 in 1986, was fifth in 2:11:28; 1984-85 champion Geoff Smith of Britain took seventh in 2:13:38, and four-time champion Bill Rodgers was 31st in 2:2042.

Hussein dropped out after 19 miles and 1983 winner Greg Meyer of Grand Rapids, Mich., dropped out after 17 miles.

Samuelson won the first Olympic women's marathon in 1984 and won at Boston in 1979 and 1983.