Monday, May 06, 2002

Russian native pockets $10,000

Obliterating women's course record all in day's work for Pozdnyakova

By Gary Estwick,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Tatyana Pozdnyakova ended her three-day business trip to Cincinnati with an additional $10,000 in her bank account.

        That's how much money Pozdnyakova took home Sunday after she dominated the women's division of the Flying Pig Marathon.

        Running by herself for most of the 26.2-mile course, the 47-year-old Russian native finished in two hours, 34 minutes, 35 seconds and earned the bonus for breaking the women's course record.

        Joking after the race, Pozdnyakova said she doesn't have any big plans for the prize money because she has bills to pay.

        “I spend my (training) time in Florida,” Pozdnyakova said. “I rent an apartment. For 10 months, it's $6,000.”

        Pozdnyakova broke the course mark of 2:49:32, set in 2000 by Rebecca Gallaher. This year, the marathon didn't offer prize money to winners unless a men's or women's record fell.

        Pozdnyakova beat Krista Place of Marysville (2:51:02) by more than 15 minutes. Dolores Ware of Virginia Beach, Va., was third (2:54:06).

        Without the bonus incentive, Pozdnyakova said she would have competed elsewhere this weekend, possibly in the Pittsburgh Marathon.

        “I am a professional runner,” she said. “I make money for a living. If no money, I don't go. It's a business.”

        Last year, the total purse, including possible bonus money, was $7,000 per winner.

        Race director Rich Williams said he doesn't think the new women's record will be challenged for some time.

        “I don't want to say that Pozdnyakova's time was world-class, but it's Olympic-quality standard,” Williams said. “She could go to almost any race in the country and end up winning the women's time.”

        Pozdnyakova's time was so fast she would have finished fifth in the men's division.

        “That's going to bring in a lot of competition for people to realize they can come here to come and run a competitive race,” Williams said.

        Third-place finisher Ware agreed.

        “They'd have to be another world-class athlete to come in and beat that,” she said.

        Pozdnyakova was one of the Soviet Union's top 1,500-meter runners of the 1980s. Her best mile finish came in 1982 (3:56.5).

        Two decades later, she runs races usually in the 10K to marathon length. As she showed in Cincinnati, she can dominate a master's division, as well as win in open divisions.

        Some of her most recent masters wins: Los Angeles Marathon, Azalea Trail Run and the Jacksonville Gate River Run.

        On Sunday, the weather conditions were perfect for a good run. The temperature along the river was cool for most of the morning and not nearly as humid as Pozdnyakova's Gainesville, Fla., training home.

        Pozdnyakova said she felt good for the first 5 miles. She ran at a six-minute-mile pace. After 17 miles, though, she felt slightly nauseous. The feeling passed by the 20-mile mark.

        “I ran faster and faster and faster,” Pozdnyakova said.

        All the way to the Flying Pig record books.


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