Kebede Sets Course Record at Chicago Marathon

Kebede’s Course Record and Thrilling Women’s Finish Highlight 35th Running
of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Ethiopians Dominate the Podium with Sweep of Men’s Race and Women’s Victory

CHICAGO –Today’s 35th running of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon
witnessed historic performances by men’s champion Tsegaye Kebede and
women’s champion Atsede Baysa, both of Ethiopia, as an event record
37,455 participants crossed the finish line under cool conditions in
Grant Park. Kebede’s time of 2:04:38 broke the previous course record
by nearly a minute, while Baysa’s one-second margin of victory over
Rita Jeptoo of Kenya in the closest women’s finish in race history.

“I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the Bank of America Chicago
Marathon’s 35th year than by rewriting the record books,” said
Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski. “Tsegaye took advantage of
great racing conditions and stiff competition to smash the course
record, and Atsede and Rita treated us to a spirited battle all the way
to the finish tape. Their performances set the pace for a wonderful day
of marathon running in Chicago, and it’s my pleasure to congratulate
all race finishers, and to thank our volunteers, city partners, and
sponsors who help make this event possible.”

With a start time temperature of 42 degrees and light winds, the lead
men’s pack of 12 runners reached the halfway point in 1:02:54. At 25K,
Kebede forged to the lead and the race was on. Along with fellow
Ethiopians Tilahun Regassa and Feyisa Lilesa, they attacked the second
half, putting the course record in jeopardy. But Kebede was a man on a
mission, and the 2010 Chicago runner-up advanced to the top of the
podium in style, blazing the last 13.1 miles in 1:01:44 en route to
victory. Not only was Kebede’s win the first by an Ethiopian male in
Chicago, but he was followed across the line by Lilesa (2:04:38) and
Regassa (2:05:27) for an Ethiopian sweep, all three bettering the
previous record of 2:05:37 set by Kenya’s Moses Mosop in 2011. Michigan
native Dathan Ritzenhein was the top U.S. finisher in ninth,
establishing a more than two-minute personal best of 2:07:47 and
becoming the third fastest American of all time.

In the women’s race, three-time defending champion Liliya Shobukhova’s
reign came to an end as she was fourth in a race where the top four
finished under 2:23. Shobukhova ran in a pack of nine that covered the
first half in 1:11:15, before she fell five seconds behind the leaders
at 30K. Also trailing was Ethiopia’s Atsede Baysa, who then surged to
catch the pack by 35K. Over the final miles, it was a three-woman race
between Baysa and Kenyans Rita Jeptoo and Lucy Kabuu. Baysa and Jeptoo
battled all the way to the tape in the closest women’s finish in race
history. In the end, only one second separated the two with Baysa
edging Jeptoo, 2:22:03 to 2:22:04, both personal bests. Kabuu was third
in 2:22:41. Oregon’s Renee Metivier Baillie, running her debut
marathon, was the top American in eighth with a 2:27:17.

In the wheelchair race, defending women’s champion Tatyana McFadden of
Champaign, Ill., returned to the winner’s circle with a powerful
performance, winning by more than six minutes in 1:49:52. In the men’s
race, last year’s fourth-place finisher, Canada’s Josh Cassidy, moved
up to the top spot on the podium, besting Adam Bleakney of Champaign,
Ill., 1:32:58 to 1:34:23.

The fourth annual Nike Northside/Southside Challenge featured the
area’s top high school cross country athletes competing in a unique
race that covers the final 2.62 miles of the Bank of America Chicago
Marathon course. In the boys’ race, Pat McMahon of Carl Sandburg High
School finished first in 13:07. In the girls’ race, Carly Krull, also
of Carl Sandburg High School, won in 15:18. In the team challenge, the
Northside squad captured the title over the Southside team.

About the 2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon
Celebrating its 35th year and a member of the World Marathon Majors,
the Bank of America Chicago Marathon annually attracts 45,000
participants, including a world-class elite runner and wheelchair
field, and an estimated 1.7 million spectators. As a result of its
national and international draw, each year, the iconic race assists in
raising millions of dollars for a variety of charitable causes while
generating $219 million in economic impact to its host city in 2011
according to a report by the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign’s Regional Economics Applications Laboratory

For more Bank of America news, visit the Bank of America newsroom.

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