Tatyana McFadden sets course record to capture her eighth victory and the "Silver Bullet" Marcel Hug defends his title
CHICAGO -- In today's Bank of America Chicago Marathon, more than 43,000* runners, an event record, crossed the finish line in Chicago's "front yard," Grant Park. This year?s race celebrated 40 years of running history with participants from more than 100 countries and all 50 states. The inaugural Chicago Marathon started in Daley Plaza on September 25, 1977.
In an elite competition loaded with four world record holders and seven men with sub 2:08 personal bests and six women who have run 2:23 or faster, the stage was set for another year of fantastic finishes. The men?s race saw the first American champion crowned since 2002 as three-time Olympian Galen Rupp surged ahead with three miles to go, crushing the field behind him to capture his first Abbott World Marathon Majors (AbbottWMM) victory in 2:09:20. Defending champion and 2012 Olympic Marathon silver medalist, Abel Kirui (KEN) hung on to finish second in 2:09:48 and Bernard Kipyego (KEN) arrived a distant third in 2:10:23.
In stark contrast to the men's race, three-time Olympic gold medalist Tirunesh Dibaba (ETH) led a pack of five women through the first half on course record pace and then dropped the hammer immediately after the 13.1 mile mark in an attempt to shake her competitors. Dibaba turned in the second fastest time in Chicago Marathon history, 2:18:31, and the third fastest time in the world this year. Relative newcomer to the AbbottWMM Brigid Kosgei (KEN), subtracted four minutes from her previous best to finish second in 2:20:22, and Jordan Hasay became the second fastest American woman in history ? and the fastest American woman ever to run Chicago ? when she grabbed the final spot on the podium in 2:20:57.
In the women's wheelchair competition, Tatyana McFadden (USA) defended her title in a photo finish, taking home her seventh straight victory and her eighth win at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, while setting a course record in 1:39:15. Three-time Chicago Marathon champion Amanda McGrory (USA) finished with an identical time for second, and four-time runner up Manuela Schär (SUI) finished third in 1:39:17. For the first time in Chicago Marathon history, the top four women finished faster than the course record.
The men's competition marked a striking departure from the sprint finishes typically seen in Chicago. Defending champion and Abbott WMM Series X winner, Marcel Hug (SUI), clocked the fastest winning time since 2011 at 1:29:23. Hug made the turn from Roosevelt Road to Columbus Drive unchallenged. Five-time Chicago Marathon champion Kurt Fearnley (AUS) repeated as the runner up in 1:30:24 and Jordi Madera Jimenez (ESP) came in third at 1:30:25.
The Men's Race
In a page from last year?s playbook, the men?s race featured more than two dozen runners nearing the mile mark north of a 2:15 pace. Race day NBC commentator Ed Eyestone remarked that a slow pace in the beginning could lead the men to ?finish like lightning.? American Aaron Braun moved to the front and kept the mile splits more measured around a 2:12 pace ? still pedestrian by AbbottWMM standards. After running in a tight group for 15 miles ? including a cluster of 26 men at the half - Sisay Lemma (ETH) and Emmanuel Bett (KEN) moved to the front and whittled the pack to 11.
The men's field experienced some significant shifts between the half and the 30K mark as marathon world record holder Dennis Kimetto (KEN), 30K world record holder Stanley Biwott (KEN) and Bett all dropped out.
Around the 17-mile mark, first time marathoner Chris Derrick (USA) hit the gas pedal and accelerated to a 4:40 pace. The pace slowed again after the 30K mark and eight men remained in the hunt past 21 miles. Defending champion Kirui led the next surge to collect a 4:39 split at mile 22. Only two men survived the sudden burst of speed to go with Kirui: Lemma and Rupp.
Rupp finally made a ?knock out? move with less than three miles to go that cemented his win - it became a one-person speed-show to the finish. Rupp ran the final four miles in 4:35 (23), 4:30 (24), 4:34 (25) and 4:33 (26). He was simply too good to get caught.
"I just am so thrilled I was able to pull it out here in a city like this " the crowd support was incredible," Rupp said following the race. "You go through different areas and it was booming."
Kirui missed defending his title by 28 seconds to finish second in 2:09:48, and 2016 Tokyo Marathon runner up Kipyego took the final spot on the podium in 2:10:23. American and Naperville native Derrick was the second American across the line in ninth in 2:12:50.
The Women's Race
Unlike the men?s race, the third fastest marathon runner of all time, Dibaba took the women?s field out aggressively on a 2:16 pace. Prior to the race, Dibaba told the press that she was ?very well prepared? and that she came to Chicago improve on her 2:17:56 personal best, immediately putting Paula Radcliffe?s (GBR) 2:17:18 course record in jeopardy.
A pack of five women, including Dibaba, two-time defending champion Florence Kiplagat (KEN), American debut marathon record holder Hasay, 2016 third place finisher Valentine Kipketer (KEN) and Kosgei, remained huddled through the 10K still on course record pace.
The women's field came unglued after the half as Dibaba made a power move that rattled everyone but Kosgei. Defending champion Kiplagat became the first real casualty of the fast pace, dropping out shortly after the 25K mark. Kosgei and Dibaba dueled until Dibaba made a critical move around the 32K mark that Kosgei failed to match. The final 10K turned into Dibaba racing against the clock, and Hasay potentially running into U.S. history as one of the fastest Americans ever.
With her eyes focused ahead and a freshness and bounce still in her stride, Dibaba ran the second fastest time in Chicago Marathon history, 2:18:31 and the sixth fastest time ever in women?s marathon history. Kosgei shattered her previous best to finish second in 2:20:22 and Hasay became the second fastest American woman ever for third in 2:20:57.
"We train very hard for long distances," Dibaba said after the race. "I was running against my personal best."
Five American women, including Hasay, landed in the top 10: Maegan Krifchin (seventh), Alia Gray (eighth), Taylor Ward (ninth) and Becky Wade (tenth).
Advocate Health Care International Chicago 5K
The second annual Advocate Health Care International Chicago 5K took place on Saturday, October 7. The Advocate Health Care International Chicago 5K offers runners the unique opportunity to start at Daley Plaza, home of the original Bank of America Chicago Marathon start line, and to take over the streets of downtown Chicago. To mark Advocate?s role as the new title sponsor, race organizers donated $2.00 to Advocate Children?s Hospital for every runner who crossed the finish line ? more than $10,000. Aaron Bartnik finished first for the men in 15:44 and Caroline Hogardh won for the women in 17:31.
About the Bank of America Chicago Marathon
In its 40th year, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon welcomes thousands of runners from more than 100 countries and all 50 states, including a world-class elite field, top regional and Masters runners, race veterans, debut marathoners and charity runners. The race?s iconic course takes runners through 29 vibrant neighborhoods on an architectural and cultural tour of Chicago. Annually, an estimated 1.7 million spectators line the streets cheering on more than 40,000 runners from the start line to the final stretch down Columbus Drive. As a result of the race?s national and international draw, the Chicago Marathon assists in raising millions of dollars for a variety of charitable causes while generating $282 million in annual economic impact to its host city. The 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, a member of the Abbott World Marathon Majors, will start and finish in Grant Park beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, October 7. In advance of the race, a two-day Abbott Health & Fitness Expo will be held at McCormick Place Convention Center on Friday, October 5, and Saturday, October 6. For more information about the event and how to get involved, go to ChicagoMarathon.com.