American distance star leaves men behind to place first overall
Chicago, IL -- August 2, 2009 -- To the clamoring of thunder sticks and roar of thousands of spectators, Kara Goucher cruised to victory at the inaugural Rock 'N' Roll Chicago Half Marathon. Executing her training plan for the upcoming IAAF World Championships and exceeding the expectations of her coach Alberto Salazar, Goucher finished in 1:08:05, almost twenty seconds ahead of the first male finisher.
"I felt I could run in the 67-68 minute range," said Goucher, who remains undefeated over the half marathon distance. "The race was great, better than my preparations for Boston. It was awesome to be the first finisher and I wanted to enjoy the crowd. I really liked how the course changed up, there was never a stretch where it was dull, and you are going through the city, going over bridges and along the water. I really liked the course."
Chicago's Rock 'N' Roll debut race was broadcast on a live webcast at Competitor.com, which included live commentary from start to finish. The webcast, dubbed the "Kara Cam' focused exclusively on Goucher running her first half marathon on U.S. soil.
"I think its fun; it gives a little something different to road racing. I was a little more self conscious than usual," Goucher said of the live webcast. "The Rock 'N' Roll format creates a great atmosphere, it was fun because I really like music and it helped me work my stride."
"By just focusing on Kara, initially I wasn't sure how it was going to work," said race commentator Todd Williams, a former U.S. Olympian and current American record holder in the 15k. "I think it was a great thing and gives other American distance runners something they can aspire to be. By her winning here, for the first time it instantly elevates the status of American road racing."
Chicagoland resident Chad Ware finished first overall on the men's side, beating his PR by a full minute with a time of 1:08:24. Ware, who ran cross country and track at Butler University, was runner up in the 10,000m at the '07 Horizon League Championships.
"It was cool, it was different being right there with a woman," said Ware, the runner up in May's Cellcom Green Bay Marathon with a time of 2:20:56. "I was right on the pace I was hoping to run and having Kara there definitely helped me get my PR."
Race morning greeted runners with ideal conditions, including low humidity and no wind. The scenic course showcased many of Chicago's historic landmarks such as Soldier Field, Shedd Aquarium, The Field Museum and the beautiful Chicago Waterfront.
"Today went well. Featuring an athlete like Kara was awesome, it's good for the sport," said Juli Henner, renowned coach and former U.S. Olympian who provided color commentary for the competitor.com webcast. "The course really showcased Chicago. When you take the turn just past the 8 mile mark and you see the skyline, running along the water, hopefully they get the Olympic bid, what a beautiful city to showcase."
The second running of the Rock 'N' Roll Chicago Half Marathon is set for August 1, 2010.
Goucher outright half-marathon winner
Place, Name, Age, City, Time
1. Kara Goucher, 31, Portland, OR , 1:08:05
2. Connie Abbott, 23, Kansas City, KS, 1:21:50
3. Amanda Domich, 24, Chicago, 1:22:28
4. Elizabeth Grady-Distel, 47, Chicago, 1:22:29
5. Suet-Fei Li, 33, Schaumburg, IL, 1:22:36
1. Chad Ware, 24, Chicagoland, 1:08:24
2. David Williams, 37, Milwaukee, WI, 1:08:49
3. Emisael Favela, 32, Cicero, IL, 1:09:14
4. Daniel Jess, 28, San Antonio, TX, 1:10:33
5. Christopher Peverada, 22, Chicago, IL, 1:11:36