American Dathan Ritzenhein Runs a 2:07:47 PR to Become Third Fastest Amerian at 2012 Chicago Marathon

By Mike Knapp and LetsRun.com
October 7, 2012

From the front of the field to the back, the cloudy, low-40s weather made Sunday's 35th running of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon was a race that was ripe for personal bests.

The top three men's finishers: Tsegaye Kebede (2:04:38), Feyisa Lilesa (2:04:52) and Tilahun Regassa (2:05:28, debut) all got PBs, as did American Dathan Ritzenhein, whose ninth-place run in 2:07:47 broke his previous best (2:09:55, 2012 Olympic Trials) by over two minutes and led an American contingent of five runners in the top 20.

Ritzenhein, who finished 13th in the 10,000 meters at the London Olympics, got the type of finish he was looking for in his seventh attempt at the distance.

"I felt amazing all the way through 35K, but after that I started feeling it," Ritzenhein said. "I am happy, this is a big step forward for me, it's been a good, healthy year and that helped me a lot. One more healthy year and I feel like I can improve on this."

Heading out with the second group of pacers which included good friend Jason Hartmann, Ritzenhein ran a 15:07 first 5K then followed that up with consistent marks of 15:01, 15:02, 14:58, 15:01 14:56 and 15:10 through 35K. At one point early on he was about 30 meters behind the lead pack when Hartmann asked if Ritzenhein wanted to close the gap, which after thinking for about "5-10 seconds" he decided against.

He said he didn't make that move this time but the next time might be different. Buoyed by his performance, he is already thinking ahead to a marathon next fall.

"I think I made a big step in the right direction, but I think I have a lot of room for improvement," he said. "I hope to continue building up on what I have and try to be a little healthier and a little stronger (the next time).

"The next step is for me to go out with them (the leaders). It was a huge jump from 2:09:55 and 2:04 and I cut that in half. The next step for me is to just go with it."

Still, he isn't ready to call himself a full-time marathoner. If healthy, he plans on focusing on cross country and then the track in 2013 with hopes of making the World Championship team on the track next summer. He enjoys racing often and likes training with partners Galen Rupp and Mo Farah, who combined to win three medals between them in the 5,000 and 10,000 at London.

"I think it's important to go back and do fast stuff, and keep that intensity in there," he said. "I think I have PR's in me in every distance still. I want to be able to do that and continue training with two of the best 10K runners in the world.

"That will be that much beneficial to me when I come back to the marathon in the fall and hopefully I have all that strength and speed."

Jeffrey Eggleston, who lives in Flagstaff, Ariz., was the second American finisher, coming home in 16th place in a career-best 2:12:03.

****

Quick Take (QT) #1: Ritz became the third fastest American in history by finishing ninth here in a big PR of 2:07:47.

Top 5 Fastest US Marathoners in History
2:05:38 Khalid Khannouchi 4/14/02
2:06:17 Ryan Hall 4/13/08
2:07:47 Dathan Ritzenhein 10/07/12
2:08:56 Abdi Abdirahman 10/23/06
2:09:08 Meb Keflezighi 1/14/12

****#3 American Ever Yet 9th in the Race

QT #2: Ritz's run was a good one and huge step in the right direction. He's now the third fastest American ever.

Now the bad news. Ritz only got 9th in the race which shows he still has a ways to go to be truly competitive.

Believe it or not, until this race, Ritz's PR (2:09:55) was actually closer to the women's world record (2:15:25, Ritz was 5:30 away from that) than the men's (2:03:38, Ritz was 6:17 from that).

The next step of trying to go out with the lead pack and hang in there isn't going to be easy. Tsegaye Kebede went out 30 seconds ahead of Ritz halfway and then ran a huge negative split (62:55- 61:43) whereas Ritz despite going out behind slowed down over the second half (63:25 - 64:22).

The unofficial top 30 men's results appear below. After that, the top 30 halfway splits are listed. More results here.

Pos. Name (CTZ) City, State BIB Division Age Overall Pace Est.Finish Diff Time
1 Kebede, Tsegaye (ETH) 5 25 04:46 - +00:00 02:04:38
2 Lilesa, Feyisa (ETH) 6 22 04:46 - +00:14 02:04:52
3 Regassa, Tilahun (ETH) 17 22 04:48 - +00:50 02:05:28
4 Kitwara, Sammy (KEN) 16 25 04:49 - +01:17 02:05:55
5 Korir, Wesley (KEN) 2 29 04:49 - +01:35 02:06:13
6 Kipyego, Bernard (KEN) 3 26 04:50 - +02:03 02:06:41
7 Ndungu, Samuel (KEN) 12 24 04:52 - +02:48 02:07:26
8 Yami, Dadi (ETH) 7 30 04:53 - +03:05 02:07:43
9 Ritzenhein, Dathan (USA) 15 29 04:53 - +03:09 02:07:47
10 Dawit, Shami (ETH) 8 28 04:55 - +04:01 02:08:39
11 Korir, Laban (KEN) 9 26 04:58 - +05:14 02:09:52
12 Matebo, Levy (KEN) 4 22 04:58 - +05:24 02:10:02
13 Kipyego, Michael (KEN) 11 29 04:58 - +05:24 02:10:02
14 Kobayashi, Koji (JPN) 22 23 04:59 - +06:02 02:10:40
15 Kumamoto, Takeshi (JPN) 18 28 05:02 - +07:09 02:11:47
16 Eggleston, Jeffrey (USA) Flagstaff, AZ 23 28 05:03 - +07:25 02:12:03
17 Kadota, Hiroki (JPN) 20 27 05:06 - +09:01 02:13:39
18 Trujillo, Carlos (USA) 35 27 05:08 - +09:43 02:14:21
19 Polley, Drew (USA) 26 26 05:10 - +10:34 02:15:12
20 Leon, Craig (USA) Eugene, OR 29 27 05:11 - +11:00 02:15:38
21 Rizzo, Patrick (USA) 25 29 05:11 - +11:06 02:15:44
22 Richards, Malcolm (USA) San Francisco, CA 31 29 05:14 - +12:22 02:17:00
23 Pifer, Stephen (USA) Jacksonville, FL 36 27 05:17 - +13:41 02:18:19
24 Frazer, Thomas (USA) Lake Foprest, IL 34 31 05:18 - +13:59 02:18:37
25 Carballo, Carlos (USA) Cathedral City, CA 106 30 05:19 - +14:23 02:19:01
26 Grabow, Jimmy (USA) Running Springs, CA 21 28 05:19 - +14:25 02:19:03
27 Onsare, Benard (KEN) Calgary, AB 56 29 05:20 - +14:58 02:19:36
28 Muturi, Stephen (KEN) 33 37 05:20 - +14:59 02:19:37
29 Jones, Tyler (USA) Chalfont, PA 105 23 05:20 - +15:01 02:19:39
30 Horiguchi, Takashi (JPN) 14 33 05:22 - +15:54 02:20:32

Men's Halfway Spllits

Pos. Name (CTZ) City, State BIB Division Age Overall Pace Est.Finish Diff Time
1 Birke, Merkabu (ETH) 42 24 05:27 02:22:34 +00:00 01:02:54
2 Kosgei, Shadrack (KEN) 41 27 04:48 02:05:52 +00:00 01:02:54
3 Ndungu, Samuel (KEN) 12 24 04:52 - +00:01 01:02:55
4 Kebede, Tsegaye (ETH) 5 25 04:46 - +00:01 01:02:55
5 Regassa, Tilahun (ETH) 17 22 04:47 - +00:01 01:02:55
6 Deksisa, Solomon (ETH) 43 18 04:48 02:05:50 +00:01 01:02:55
7 Kitwara, Sammy (KEN) 16 25 04:49 - +00:01 01:02:55
8 Yami, Dadi (ETH) 7 30 04:53 - +00:01 01:02:55
9 Matebo, Levy (KEN) 4 22 04:58 - +00:01 01:02:55
10 Kipyego, Michael (KEN) 11 29 04:58 - +00:01 01:02:55
11 Korir, Laban (KEN) 9 26 04:58 - +00:02 01:02:56
12 Kipyego, Bernard (KEN) 3 26 04:50 - +00:02 01:02:56
13 Dawit, Shami (ETH) 8 28 04:55 - +00:02 01:02:56
14 Korir, Wesley (KEN) 2 29 04:49 - +00:02 01:02:56
15 Lilesa, Feyisa (ETH) 6 22 04:46 - +00:02 01:02:56
16 Mose, Erick Monyenye (KEN) Kenya 44 25-29 25 04:50 02:06:41 +00:31 01:03:25
17 Ritzenhein, Dathan (USA) 15 29 04:53 - +00:31 01:03:25
18 Kadota, Hiroki (JPN) 20 27 05:03 02:12:09 +00:31 01:03:25
19 Kobayashi, Koji (JPN) 22 23 04:59 - +00:32 01:03:26
20 Kumamoto, Takeshi (JPN) 18 28 05:02 - +00:32 01:03:26
21 Horiguchi, Takashi (JPN) 14 33 05:18 02:18:59 +00:42 01:03:36
22 Morgan, Mike (USA) 46 32 05:00 02:10:54 +02:33 01:05:27
23 Eggleston, Jeffrey (USA) Flagstaff, AZ 23 28 05:03 - +02:35 01:05:29
24 Smyth, Patrick (USA) 27 26 05:21 02:20:05 +02:36 01:05:30
25 Grabow, Jimmy (USA) Running Springs, CA 21 28 05:17 02:18:12 +02:37 01:05:31
26 Moriwaki, Yuki (JPN) 19 28 05:20 02:19:39 +02:37 01:05:31
27 Onsare, Benard (KEN) Calgary, AB 56 29 05:18 02:18:38 +02:38 01:05:32
28 Naranjo, William (COL) 28 34 05:17 02:18:18 +03:24 01:06:18
29 Gutierrez, Jason (COL) 24 28 05:11 02:15:45 +03:24 01:06:18
30 Leon, Craig (USA) Eugene, OR 29 27 05:09 02:14:43 +03:31 01:06:25

Mike Knapp is a free-lance writer based in Aurora, IL. Knapp has been a regular LetsRun.com visitor ever since he spotted the LetsRun.com jersey at the Chicago Marathon in 2001.

LRC Women's Recap: Atsede Baysa Wins Near Photo Finish at 2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon
LRC Men's Recap:
Tsegaye Kebede is Back As He Runs 2:04:38 to Crush Chicago Marathon Course Record

*Live Chicago Marathon Thread *Ritz 9th in 2:07:47
*Recap and Analysis from Our Friends at the Sports Scientists Blog 


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