Prokopčuka wins New York City marathon

Jeļena Prokopčuka appeared to be on her way to finish well in the women’s race of the New York City Marathon, but she did even better, zipping first past the finish line and claiming a USD 130,000 prize.

A glowing Prokopčuka wrapped herself in a Latvian flag after her Nov. 6 victory.

“This is a big victory for such a small country,” she told The New York Times.

The 29-year-old Prokopčuka crossed the finish line 2 hours, 24 minutes and 41 seconds after starting the 26-mile course, 14 seconds ahead of Susan Chepkemei of Kenya. Chepkemei seem assured of victory, according to media reports, and was running ahead of the pack, but three miles from the finish became sick. Prokopčuka took advantage of the situation and soon closed the gap.

Last year, Prokopčuka finished fifth in the New York marathon with a time of 2:26:51.

Prokopčuka is coached by her husband, Aleksander Prokopčuka.

She was one of four runners from Latvia in the marathon. Also participating were Andrejs J. Lazda, 33; Valdis Blūms, 50, and Raivis Zaķis, 25.

Jeļena Prokopčuka

Jeļena Prokopčuka is the winner of the 2005 women’s race in the New York City Marathon.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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