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 2004 Distance Running Review
Submitted by Rickshaw :: Mon Dec 27, 2004 10:31 am
IAAF has a good piece on 2004's distance running highlights. The wrap-up of events from 3,000 to 10,000 meters reviews the major news stories from an eventful year. Track fans got to see several world records drop, bright new young talents emerge, and the sport's top names post some surprising results.

The men's field continued to be dominated by East African runners, especially Ethiopians. The young Kenenisa Bekele grabbed headlines by setting new world records in both the 5,000 and 10,000 meters, just eight days apart. In both cases, Bekele broke records formerly owned by his countryman Haile Gebrselassie. Bekele also claimed the Olympic gold medal at 10,000 meters, but Morocco's Hicham El Guerrouj snagged the 5,000 meter gold, denying Bekele a sweep.

The women's field also saw a new 5,000 meter world record from Turkey's Elvan Abeylegesse. At the Olympics, China's Xing Huina surprised everyone by winning the 10,000 meter gold. The relatively unknown Xing wasn't recognized by the other runners, and silver medalist Ejagayou Dibaba thought Xing was a lapped runner when she passed Dibaba 30 m before the finish.

The other major story in the women's field was the troubled season of Great Britian's Paula Radcliffe. She looked strong early in the year, and went to the Olympics as a favorite in both the 10,000 meters and the marathon. Radcliffe surprised the world by dropping out of both races mid-way through, fueling speculation about a possible meltdown.

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