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For the Record
April 30, 2007
The Long Hall
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April 30, 2007

For The Record

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The Long Hall

SUNDAY'S LONDON MARATHON had perhaps the most accomplished men's field ever. The featured runners included Kenya's Martin Lel, who won a sprint to the finish for his second London title in three years (in 2:07:41); defending champion Felix Limo, who was in the dash at the end and placed third; world-record holder Paul Tergat (sixth); and reigning New York City Marathon champ Marilson Gomes dos Santos (eighth), plus 2004 Olympic champ Stefano Baldini, former world-record holder Khalid Khannouchi and former half-marathon-record holder Haile Gebrselassie.

But for all the big names, the race will be remembered most for the performance of a neophyte—Ryan Hall, a 24-year-old from Big Bear Lake, Calif., who finished seventh in 2:08:24. It was the fastest time ever for both a U.S. runner making his marathon debut and an American-born marathoner. (Khannouchi, a native Moroccan who became a U.S. citizen in 2000, holds the U.S. record of 2:05:38.) "I'm surprised that it took me so long to figure it out," said Hall (above), who was the 2005 NCAA 5,000-meters champion at Stanford. "[The marathon is] the perfect event for me."

Until a year ago he had never raced more than 7 1/2 miles. When he entered his first half-marathon in January, he broke the U.S. record with a blistering 59:43 in Houston. Hall blew away 2004 Olympic marathon silver medalist Meb Keflezighi, one of Hall's training partners, in that race, but few figured he would stay with the elite runners in London. As Hall told the San Francisco Chronicle before the race, "I'm not going to do anything stupid to chase them."

Briefly on Sunday, everybody was chasing Hall. He took the lead at mile 21 and stayed near the front before fading down the stretch. (Keflezighi withdrew at mile 10 with a blister.) Next for Hall are the Olympic trials in November. "I really want to take a swing at a medal," he said. "My best shot is going to be in the marathon."

Dropped
By federal prosecutors, bribery charges against Harvey McDougle Jr., the Toledo running back accused last month of participating in a point-shaving scheme. According to an FBI affidavit McDougle, 22, accepted cash and gifts, including a car, from a Michigan gambler in exchange for helping to line up players who would affect the outcomes of Toledo football and basketball games. (McDougle told the FBI that he received items of value but never changed the way he played.) Prosecutors said McDougle could be charged again in the future. "This is just a procedural matter," said a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney in Detroit. "The investigation continues."

Retired
At age 25, Croatia's Janica Kostelic, the most successful female Alpine skier in Olympic history. Kostelic (below) won four Olympic gold medals, was a three-time World Cup overall champion and is one of only three women to win events in all five Alpine disciplines. But in recent years she has battled injuries and illness; she has undergone 10 knee operations and three years ago took a six-month break because of a thyroid condition. "I have suffered so many injuries and pain and don't want to go through this again," said Kostelic, who also wants to devote more time to a beauty parlor she recently opened in Croatia.

Arrested
At Shea Stadium, a Mets fan who allegedly shone a high-powered flashlight into the eyes of Braves players during Atlanta's win over New York last Friday. In the bottom of the eighth Frank Martinez, 40, was ejected from his seat behind home plate after Braves shortstop Edgar Renteria complained to umpires that Martinez was flashing a light in his eyes. Martinez, a former exterminator, was charged with reckless endangerment and interference with a professional sporting event; he pleaded not guilty and faces a year in jail and a $5,000 fine if convicted.

Fired
Into the suburban Detroit house of Pistons guard Flip Murray, three shots, by what Murray told police were two masked gunmen. Upon returning home from a club in the early morning of April 16, Murray said, he went inside to use the bathroom but left his front door open so a friend who had followed in her car could enter the house. Murray said he then heard the woman screaming and ran to find the two gunmen in the doorway. Murray said he slammed the door, and one of the men fired three shots. Two hit the door and a third came through a window. Neither Murray nor his friend was injured. As of Monday, police were still investigating.

Died
At age 61 of heart failure, George Webster, who in 1969 was voted by Michigan State fans as the best athlete in school history. He played roverback, which allowed him to line up at any spot on the field, and was a two-time All-America. A first-round pick of the Houston Oilers in 1967, Webster was the AFL Rookie of the Year and played 10 more seasons. Though plagued by injuries, which eventually cost him partial use of a hand, foot, knee and ankle, he did not qualify for total disability pay from the NFL. Webster sued the league, and the case ultimately went before the Supreme Court, where he lost. "He's in peace," former Spartans teammate Bob Apisa told the Lansing State Journal. "He's in a place where he doesn't have to suffer anymore."

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