Women's Race Over In A Flash As Shobukhova (2:20) Smoothly Comes From Behind To Extend Marathon Major Win Streak
By Emory Mort For LetsRun.com
Road-racing phenom Sammy Wanjiru showed there is still plenty of life left in his mighty legs by rallying from multiple late-race deficits to eventually overcome a superb Tsegaye Kebede Sunday in Chicago.
Ailed by injuries to back and knee, slowed by stomach flu just 3 weeks ago, doubted by pundits after years of aggressive marathoning, recent DNFs and slowing seasonal bests, Wanjiru earned perhaps the toughest win of his career after his hopes seemed dashed time and time again in the final miles.
The Bank of America Chicago Marathon run on 10-10-2010 will surely be remembered for the final 5km clash between Kebede, the tiny reigning Virgin London Marathon champion and owner of a 2:05:45 average for his best 5 marathon finishes, and Wanjiru, winner and course record-setter of Fukuoka, Chicago, the Olympics and the most competitive marathon in the world in London.
True racing began after the final pacemaker dropped off with 8 miles to go. Kebede assumed the lead with Wanjiru on his side. Miles 20 and 21 zipped by in 4:40 and 4:43 for the duo as the lead pack dropped former Boston Champs Robert K Cheruiyot and Deriba Merga (who literally stopped for a DNF), then valiant Wesley Korir, then Vincent Kipruto. As a fired-up Toni Reavis exclaimed, "Kebede's just taking a baseball bat to these guys!"
With 5k to go, announcers and spectators could be excused for assuming the race over as Kebede made the first of several advances in front of his two closest competitors in Wanjiru and 20-year-old Feyisa Lelisa. A repeat of London 2010 - where Kebede defeated a DNFing Wanjiru - appeared to be happening. But then came the fantastic drama - Wanjiru and Lelisa rallied to close the gap by mile 25 (1 hour, 56 minutes into the race). The last 10 minutes were thrilling, as Wanjiru was dropped at least 3 times in what became a true battle of attrition.
|Our friends at Flotrack have cut from the NBCChicago.com broadcast a video of the final mile of the epic Bank of America 10.10.10 Chicago Marathon battle between Tsegaye Kebede and Sam Wanjiru.|
Temperatures rising into the upper 70s slowed the lead runners but did not diminish the excitement. At one point, Reavis (who was on fire with one liners and genuine excitement for the entire broadcast) noticed a gapped Wanjiru switching sides of the road to make a "sneak attack" on Kebede, who before was accelerating each time he noticed the Kenyan's shadow. It was a tough, high-stakes game of cat and mouse with a $75,000 1st-place prize purse and a $500,000 World Marathon Major grand prize check on the line.
Wanjiru appeared to be suffering while Kebede sped to another victory. But after surging to catch Kebede for the final time in the final kilometer, Wanjiru delivered the knockout blow (comparisons to Ali-Frazier were being thrown around by announcers and LRC commentators alike), accelerating up an incline to finish off his rival in dramatic fasion.
Truly emptied, Kebede would cross the line in 2:06:43, 19 seconds behind Wanjiru's 2:06:24. Wanjiru collapsed to the ground, propped up and fed water by waiting race volunteers, showing an unusual amount of fatigue after what can only be described as a once-in-a-career effort. The Kebede/Wanjiru duel has to be considered one of the greatest and most dramatic late-race marathon battles when one considers the caliber of the two runners and the career and earnings-defining nature of the race. Wanjiru faced the toughest the world had to offer (namely, Kebede) and overcame deficit, doubt and fatigue to claw his way to an amazing victory. What a classic race.
American Men Led By Jason Hartmann's 8th-Place 2:11:06
Jason Hartmann had another outstanding marathon performance to back up his 2:12:09 win at the USA championships in Minnesota 1 year ago. Hartmann finished 8th ahead of Moroccan Riouane Harroufi in 2:11:06 to lead the Americans. Next behind Hartmann and Harroufi were Mike Sayenko (10th, 2:14:27) and Mike Morgan (11th, 2:14:55).
Women's Race - Liliya Shobukhova Confidently Surges To Another Impressive Chicago Win
Russian Liliya Shobukhova proved she is the greatest female marathoner on the planet with another seemingly flawless and controlled victory in a world marathon major. Her time of 2:20:25 was over 3 minutes better than 2nd place. Oddly enough, Ethiopian Atsede Baysa was being crowned the champion by female pace car announcer Deena Kastor and spectators with only about 10km left in the women's race. Baysa and fellow Ethiopian Mamitu Daska (eventual 6th-place finisher over 8 minutes behind the Russian) had built a dual lead behind male pacemakers that held up for many miles mid-race. Yet it was Baysa who suffered a massive breakdown as the cameras returned to the women's race in mile 21 to witness Shobukhova motoring to the lead.
|Liliya Shobukhova crosses the line to win the 2010 Bank of America Chicago Marathon by over 3 minutes|
For Shobukhova, the win cemented the $500,000 World Marathon Major prize purse and a $75,000 winner's check. A former track speedster, Shobukhova now owns 2 victories in Chicago to go along with a dominating victory from London back in April.
Stats from Science of Sport show that Shobukhova again finished with phenomenal speed. Despite having a massive lead, Shobukhova ran 6:59 or 5:06/mile pace from 40km to the finish (2.2km).
American women also showed well led by Hanson's-Brooks star Desiree Davila, who ran a 93-second PR to finish 4th in 2:26:20 and get the best of 5th-place former world-beater Irina Mikitenko. Behind them was Daska in 6th, then American Magdalena Lewy-Boulet in 7th (2:28:44), and Chicago's own Tera Moody in 10th (2:30:52).
Another top performance came from Joan Benoit-Samuelson, who ran 2:47:50 at the age of 53 to record a sub-2:50 in 5 consecutive decades ('70s, '80s, '90s, '00s and '10s).
FINAL Men's Results
Place Name BIB Division Age Est.Finish Diff time
|Final Women's Results|
Place Name BIB Division Age Est.Finish Diff time