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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Injury forces top runner out of marathon

By Leila Wai
Advertiser Staff Writer

LYUBOV MORGNOVA

Russia's Lyubov Morgunova, one of the women's favorites in the Honolulu Marathon, was in a car accident in Moscow on Saturday and will not be participating in Sunday's race, according to her agent Konstantin Selinevich.

Morgunova, who won here in 2000 and 2001, was in the backseat of a car with her husband, Alexander, and her 1-year-old daughter, Anna, when a vehicle hit their car from behind.

Morgunova is badly bruised, but has no broken bones and is able to walk, Selinevich said. However, her doctor told her she could not run for a month. Morgunova's husband and daughter also are OK, but the other driver of the other car is in critical condition, Selinevich said.

With the loss of Morgunova, this year's field will be without the winners of the past three Honolulu Marathons.

Svetlana Zakharova of Russia, last year's champion, is not running because she was sick, and could not train.

"She's the kind of athlete that if she's not ready and not in shape, she won't come," Selinevich said. "She didn't want to come to Hono-lulu just to have fun."

Zakharova won the Boston Marathon and Chicago Marathon, and came in ninth in the IAAF World Championships.

Albina Ivanova and Alevtina Ivanova of Russia (no relation), and Eri Hayakawa of Japan are now considered the top contenders.

When: Sunday

Time: 5 a.m.

Starting line: Ala Moana and Queen Street extension

Information: honolulumarathon.org
Albina Ivanova finished second, Alevtina Ivanova third and Hayakawa fourth in last year's Honolulu Marathon.

Olga Romanova of Russia, who was going to be the pacesetter, probably will be competing.

"The Honolulu Marathon has been so friendly to us, so (Romanova) has no pressure. I'm thinking she is going to be in the top five if she runs," Selinevich said.

Although Romanova has not run in a marathon before, she has won five of the seven races she has competed in this year, including the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run in Washington, D.C., in May. She finished in 53 minutes, 43 seconds.

Reach Leila Wai at lwai@honoluluadvertiser.com or 535-2457.