The 40th New York City Marathon on this cloudy Sunday started and ended with grace. Derartu Tulu after escaping the entanglement of feet on the start of the run which victimized one woman and another Kenyan to withdraw before the completion of the run was a great escape for Derartu ending with victory.
The defending Champion and the three time winner of New York City Marathon, Paula Radcliffe, was the favorite and no wonder Derartu was running close to her sometimes looking for eye contact to see if she is OK ! Ethiopian politeness and respect which you can not teach it in school.
Derartu Tulu, the two times Olympic gold medalist in 10 thousand meters and the one time winner of London Marathon, run in the five boroughs of New York City with grace and beauty. It seems she has a job to finish and no sign of panic, a sign of true champion. As an eighteen years old cruising on the final lap of the 10,000m in Barcelona Olympic in 1992 beating the South African girl she became the first African woman to win a gold medal in Olympics.
In 1992 back home then when our national flag was considered as a rug by the ruling TPLF and those collaborating rebels and the pride of being Ethiopian was at low level Derartu Tulu wrapped herself with an Ethiopian flag and gave us hope and since then I have fallen in love with this beautiful girl and now the mother of two children.
On the 20th mile, Manhattan, Derartu Tulu waved to the huge Ethiopian flag and kept on her mission, to win the New York City Marathon and be the first Ethiopian woman. After Paula left behind it was the Russian woman who run with Derartu and the master of the 10K sprinted at the right moment to take over the Russian and French and be the Queen of New York City by finishing in 2:28:54.
Interviewed after the win she said she is not yet finished and she is coming back. We are all proud of Derartu Tulu for giving us hope at our difficult time and running with grace and beauty and you are the true Queen of New York City. I would like also to congratulate Meb Keflegzi for winning the men's marathon and be the first since the American won in 1980s.
The care Derartu Tulu showed to the defending champion at the end of the race shows who she is, a champion who loves, respects others. Her love for her flag is unmatchable. The wave at the 20th mile for the green, yellow and orange, Ethiopian flag is the wave for all Ethiopians all over the wold who watched her on television. Derartu indeed the beautiful Queen of New York City on the 40th Marathon has always been Ethiopian Queen for almost two decades.
We love you Derartu and your beautiful family, see you next year to set a new record for women like the Ethiopian T. Jiffar did for men's marathon in 2001.