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Kipchoge 2:04:11 in Chicago, Bekele Falters

KIPCHOGE, JEPTOO VICTORIOUS AT CHICAGO MARATHON
**Jeptoo Wins $500,000 World Marathon Majors Bonus**
By David Monti, @d9monti

(c) 2014 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
(Used with permission)

CHICAGO
(12-Oct) — In nearly ideal running conditions, Kenyans Eliud Kipchoge
and Rita Jeptoo, convincingly won the 37th Bank of America Chicago
Marathon, each earning $100,000 in prize money. Moreover, Jeptoo locked
up the 2013/2014 World Marathon Majors series title with a perfect 100
points, guaranteeing her a further $500,000 bonus. They recorded
winning times of 2:04:11 and 2:24:35, respectively.

BEKELE FALTERS

Most
of the pre-race hype focused on three-time Olympic gold medalist
Kenenisa Bekele who ran his second marathon here today after a
successful debut in Paris last April. Indeed, Bekele –helped by his
brother Tariku who was a pacemaker– was in the thick of the race when
11 men, including three pacemakers, went through the halfway point in
62:11, about half a minute slower than race director Carey Pinkowski
planned. Kipchoge was right behind the pacers biding his time.

Tariku
Bekele peeled off after the halfway point leaving Geoffrey Kirui of
Kenya and Ghirmay Ghebreslassie of Eritrea to lead the group. Nearly
all of the top men were still in contention: Kenyans Kipchoge, Lani
Rutto, Sammy Kitwara, Bernard Koech, and Dickson Chumba, and Ethiopians
Bekele, Tadese Tola and Feyisa Lilesa. Kenya’s Wesley Korir, the 2012
Boston Marathon champion, had fallen two minutes behind.

The
big break in the race occurred between 30 and 35 kilometers when
Kipchoge, Chumba, Kitwara and Koech moved ahead. Bekele, who said he
was feeling tired, simply couldn’t follow them.

“My body was
not fresh; I was tired,” Bekele told reporters. He continued: “My body
was not reacting. When they pick-up the pace, my body was not reacting
well.”

Bekele quickly fell out of contention for the podium,
but managed to pass a the fading Koech to eventually take fourth in
2:05:51. Ahead of him, Kipchoge appeared to be running smoothly, but he
later admitted that he wasn’t sure if he could drop Kitwara and Chumba.

“After
30 kilometers it was not easy,” Kipchoge said. “I tried to push, but
everyone was there. At 36 (kilometers), they were still there, and I
was a little worried.”

Kipchoge didn’t have to worry for long.
He covered the five kilometers between 35 and 40-K in a snappy 14:32,
and the others couldn’t follow. He had a 6-second lead at 40-K which
would grow to 17 seconds by the finish. Kipchoge began to feel more
like he was in a track race sprinting for the win.

“For me today is was a real race,” Kipchoge said. “It was like a championships.”

His
time of 2:04:11 was just outside of his personal best of 2:04:05, and
was the second-fastest winning time here. He ran nearly perfect halves
of 62:11 and 62:00. He credited his coach, Patrick Sang, and his
training group in Kaptagat which includes world 30-K record holder
Emmanuel Mutai and Olympic and world champion Stephen Kiprotich.

“The
coaching of Patrick Sang is the best,” Kipchoge intoned. He added: “The
coaching system I used in Kenya helped me prepare very well. That’s why
I win in Chicago.”

Kitwara came home second in 2:04:28 and
Chumba was third in 2:04:32, both personal bests. Back in ninth place,
former NCAA 5000m champion Bobby Curtis was the top American in
2:11:20, a two-minute personal best for the Villanova grad.

“I was hoping for 2:11 or maybe a little under,” Curtis told reporters. “So, I’m very happy with 2:11:20.”

JEPTOO IGNORES CLOCK AND RUNS TO WIN

Race
director Pinkowski had planned a 69-minute first half for the top women
behind two male pacemakers, but that goal quickly went out the window
when American Amy Hastings found herself leading the race in a much
more restrained 34:22 at 10-K. Jeptoo quickly abandoned any thoughts of
going after a time goal, and instead shifted her focus strictly to
winning instead. A victory, and the valuable World Marathon Majors
points which would go with it, were far more important.

“The
pace was starting was good until after 10-K we ran like slow,” Jeptoo
explained to the media after the race. “So, actually I want to say
everybody was looking for me (to lead). Sometimes, you cannot push if
everybody is ready.”

Hastings, who had built up a small lead,
drifted 10 seconds behind Jeptoo, Kenyan compatriot Florence Kiplagat,
and Ethiopians Birhane Dibaba, Mare Dibaba, and Gelete Burka at halfway
(1:12:35). Jeptoo felt some resistance from the wind and decided to
stay with the group and wait to strike.

“Actually the course
was good, but the weather was not good because it was windy,” she
recounted. “The last 15-K was like windy.

At 35-K, Jeptoo,
Kiplagat and the two Dibaba’s were still together in 2:00:45. Jeptoo
decided that she had waited long enough, and like Kipchoge, used the
next 5 kilometers to put the race away, recording a 16:37 split.

“She
just turned on the jets and off she went,” said Olympic Marathon gold
medalist Joan Samuelson on the local television broadcast.

From
there, Jeptoo sailed to the finish line in Grant Park to record her
fourth consecutive World Marathon Majors race title. She is the first
athlete, male or female, to win four consecutive WMM events.

“Today
is a great day for me and for my fans,” said Jeptoo. “I was so happy
when I was running. I was having fun on the road. I’m happy to run
here.”

The battle of the Dibaba’s went to Mare who finished
second in 2:25:37. Kiplagat got third (2:25:57) and Birhane Dibaba
fourth (2:27:02). Hastings finished a credible fifth in 2:27:02 exactly
equaling her personal best.

“My PR (personal record) was from
2011 and I was nervous I would never get back there,” an elated
Hastings told the media. “In the marathon, you just don’t know what
will happen. Just last year, it went bad. When you have those moments
when it went well you have to be happy and live in the moment and just
enjoy it.”

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