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Kenya’s Chepng’etich, Kipruto dominate Chicago Marathon

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Ruth Chepng'etich winning the Chicago Marathon. PHOTO/Courtesy
  • Ruth Chepng’etich defended her title
  • She came 14 seconds close to breaking the World Record
  • Benson Kipruto won the men’s race

Kenyan athletes dominated Sunday’s Chicago Marathon, with Ruth Chepng’etich and Benson Kipruto completing a double. Chepng’etich won the women’s title, defending the title she won last year, and came to within 14 seconds of equalling Brigid Kosgei’s World Record set on the same course in 2019.

The 2019 World Champion timed 2:14:18 to win the race, ahead of American Emily Sisson who finished second in a new American record of 2:18:29.

Chepng’etich majorly ran a solo race and had created a five minute gap between her and the American with only two kilometres left, when it was a battle between her and the clock as she tried to set a new world mark.

However, she couldn’t summon enough pace on the final stretch, but contended with the win and the second fastest women’s marathon ever in history.

Compatriot Vivian Kiplagat upgraded her fifth place finish from last year as she completed the podium in third with a time of 2:20:52.

Go solo from the start

Chepng’etich sought to go solo from the start, and only had the company of her pacemaker until the 35km mark when he dropped off.

She did the first 5km of the race in 15:11, then ran the next 5km faster, clearing 10km in 30:40.

She kept her pace consistent, while the gap with the chasing pack continued to grow. At the halfway mark, she crossed in 1:05:44, more than a minute faster than Kosgei;s splits when she broke the World Record in 2019.

At the 30km mark, the gap had grown to four minutes and 36 seconds, while she increased it by nine seconds with seven kilometres to go.

It was now a race between her and the clock as she fell within the World Record. But, despite a major effort in the final three kilometres, she fell just short of the mark, but bagged the second fastest time ever in history.

Meanwhile, Kipruto, winner of last year’s Boston Marathon, clinched his second Major Marathon with victory in the men’s race in a new Personal Best time of 2:04:24. He won the title exactly seven years after his brother Dickson Chumba also won.

Feel happy to have continued family wins

“I feel happy to have continued with the good name of the family. I am even more delighted because I ran a personal best time today. It wasn’t easy but I pushed myself to ensure that I got something,” Kipruto, who finished third at this year’s Boston race said.

Defending champion Seifu Tura finished second in 2:04:49 while another Kenyan John Korir completed the Podium with a time of 2:05:01.

It was a contrasting race from the women’s, where a group of 10 leading athletes hurdled together until the 30km mark when it began to break off.

Kipruto as well as compatriots Bernard Koech and John Korir were part of the leading group which also had the Ethiopians led by holder Tura, Yimer Jemal and Arega Wolde, as well as Ugandan Stephen Kissa.

The leading group did the half marathon in 1:02:24. But, once the pacemakers dropped off the race, it began to shape up, with a four-man group leading the pack. Koech, Kipruto, Tura and Korir were now commanding and shuffling leads.

At the 35km mark, the group narrowed to three, with Kipruto, Tura and Korir, but the lanky Kipruto looked the stronger of the trio.

With 5km left, Kipruto made his move. He injected some finishing pace on the hilly part of the course and Tura had no reply. He went on to create a manageable gap and easily won the race.

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