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RUNNING

Drossin Feeling on Top of World

April 08, 2002|HELENE ELLIOTT | TIMES STAFF WRITER

CARLSBAD — Deena Drossin was impressed when Lornah Kiplagat of Kenya blazed through the first half-mile of Sunday's Carlsbad 5,000 women's invitational road race.

"She went out like a storm," Drossin said. "She went out really hard, which was good.

"But I didn't want her to get too far ahead. In the 5K, it's crucial not to let competitors get too far ahead. I kept her in sight and slowly reeled her in."

Drossin also reeled in a world record, adding another laurel to her increasingly impressive resume.

Drossin, who grew up in Agoura Hills and lives in Mammoth Lakes, covered the course in 14 minutes 54 seconds, cutting three seconds off the world record set a year ago in London by Paula Radcliffe of Britain. She finished 25 seconds ahead of the runner-up, 17-year-old Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia, in becoming the first American woman to set a world record in the 5,000 since PattiSue Plumer was timed in 15:31 at Carlsbad in 1986.

"It's the most exciting thing I can ask for today," said Drossin, who earned a $10,000 bonus for setting a world record.

She had many reasons to be excited.

While the top 10 times in the men's race were slower than the top 10 last year, the top 10 women's times were faster than a year ago. That's a testament to the quality and depth of a field that also included Sydney Olympic 5,000 silver medalist Sonia O'Sullivan of Ireland and naturalized American Colleen De Reuck, who was third at last month's world cross-country championships behind Radcliffe and Drossin.

Two other young Ethiopians, Werknesh Kidane and Eyerusalem Kuma, finished third and fourth, in 15:20 and 15:23, respectively. De Reuck was fifth in 15:30, Kathy Butler of Britain was sixth (15:36) and O'Sullivan seventh in 15:38. The race was O'Sullivan's third in 14 weeks since she gave birth to her second child.

Kiplagat, who had a wrap on her left knee, didn't finish the race.

Sammy Kipketer of Kenya, who set the world road record of 13 minutes on the Carlsbad course two years ago and tied it last year, won in 13:17.

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