The 35th running of the Chicago Marathon proved to be a memorable one. The past few years the temperatures have soared to 90 degrease, leaving runners hot, tired and worn out.
Sunday was a “runners day” the cool temperatures gave runners the ability to go push a little harder and go a little faster.
Tsegaye Kebede took advantage of the cool temperatures by setting a new course record of 2:04:38 breaking the previous course record by nearly a minute.
Atsede Baysa, edged out Rita Jeptoo by one second, making it the closest women’s finish on the 35 year history of the race.
Beyond the elite runners, 37,455 runners traversed their way through the city streets to the finish line in Grant Park.
"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 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.
All 37,455 finishers are invited to Fleet Feet Sports to have their finishers medals engraved for free from 10:00AM- 7:00 PM, at either of their locations.
PARTS FROM PRESS RELEASE