October 13, 2013
Eight takeaways on the men’s 2013 Bank of America Chicago Marathon.
1) Dennis Kimetto Is A Stud And An Amazing Story
Dennis Kimetto has run three marathons, excluding London this year, where he was a pacemaker.
1) 2:04:16 fastest debut ever on a loop course for 2nd in Berlin 2012
2) 2:06:50 win in Tokyo – World Marathon Major Win
3) 2:03:45 for the win in Chicago
His only loss was the Berlin race where many wondered if he let training partner Geoffrey Mutai win so Mutai would pick up the $500,000 World Marathon Major Bonus.
It was said on the broadcast that Kimetto has never run a track race, which isn’t true, but he’s never run a track race outside of Kenya. Why would he? All the money is in the marathon these days.
The thing that is most amazing with Kimetto is all the results services we use show him with no results at all until 2011. He’s 29 years old now. At age 27, he starts running competitively and now at age 29 he’s one of the best marathoners in the world. Amazing. A rapid rise in the sport is not totally uncommon in Kenya, but Kimetto’s transformation is utterly off the charts.
Let’s talk about where Kimetto now ranks in the world. When we dissected Wilson Kipsang’s world record run, we said our top two marathoners in 2013 were:
1) Lelisa Desisa ETH
1st Dubai 2:04:45
1st Boston 2:10:22
2nd Worlds 2:10:12
2) Wilson Kipsang
5th London 2:07:47
1st Berlin 2:03:23 World Record
We’ll stick with that order and put Kimetto third, although Kimetto is #1 atop the World Marathon Major standings for 2013-2014 ahead of Kipsang and Desisa. Honestly, choosing between those three who haven’t raced each other this year is absurd and some at LetsRun think Kimetto deserves to be #1.
Kimetto picked up $175,000 for his win today ($100,000 for the win , $75,000 for the course record). With a possible $500,000 payday for winning the World Marathon Majors, it’s easy to see why he’s never run a track race in Europe.
2) Emmanuel Mutai Gets 2nd Again
In our preview we said, “Very good at finishing second. He’s been second at Worlds (2009), London twice (2010 and 2013), and New York twice (2010 and 2011), but has only won one major … He’s a true professional who is amazingly consistent. Has run 11 career marathons (all of them majors) and only not finished in the top five twice. More often than not, he’s second place (five times).” Well, make that 12 marathons, with six second place finishes.
Hard to fault Mutai here. He ran 2:03:52 and lost. Mutai had a big lead in London this year and blew up. He’ was very close to having won London and Chicago this year, which would put him #1 in the world in our book. He picked up $105,000 for his second place finish ($50,000 for 2nd, $55,000 for going sub 2:05:00).
3) It’s A Good Thing Wilson Kipsang Lowered The World Record In Berlin
Kimetto was only 7 seconds off of the old world record of 2:03:38 that Wilson Kipsang lowered to 2:03:23 in Berlin. Missing the world record by seven seconds would be tough to stomach. Missing it by 22 is easier to digest, particularly when the rabbits here only lasted for a scant 74 minutes.
4) Want To Know Why Everyone Goes Out So Fast In Chicago …
Look at the bonus structure and prize money.
Course Record: 2:04:38 $75,000
Sub 2:05:00 $55,000
Sub 2:05:30 $40,000
Sub 2:06:00 $25,000
Sub 2:07:00 $10,000
Sub 2:08:00 $5,000
Place Prize Money:
The easiest way in Chicago to get $40,000 is to run sub-2:05:30. There is a huge incentive to running fast. That being said, we think a bunch of the Kenyans and Ethiopians would have been way better off if they ran with Dathan Ritzenhein for the first half. Try to run 2:05 and see what happens versus going out at sub-2:04 pace
Sammy Kitwara, (we haven’t even mentioned his name yet) finished third and picked up $65,000. Not a bad payday.
5) Dathan Ritzenhein Blows Up But Places Higher Than Last Year
Dathan Ritzenhein ran over 5:20 pace the last five miles to fade to 2:09:45 ,but he still finished an impressive fifth as the super-hot pace for the lead pack destroyed most of the guys who tried to go out in 61:52. Last year, Ritz ran 2:07:47 but only finished 9th.
Ritz told NBC Chicago after the race, “I started cramping in my hamstring around 20 miles. I really started to feel it a lot the last 3-4 miles. It was brutal. My hamstring was really seizing up … The place was OK but I really wanted to run 3 minutes faster.”
The problem for Ritz and his fans is historically he’s often had cramping problems in many of his marathons.
You may think, “Oh he cramped this year because he really went for it.” But his splits early on today weren’t that much faster than last year. He was no slouch last year, as he went out in 63:25 versus 1:03:02 this year. At 30k today, he was only 9 seconds up on his pace from last year (Last Year’s Splits *This Year’s Splits).
Last year, with him not having cramping problems, was more of an anomaly than him having them today to be truthful. He also had cramping problems at the Olympics in 2008, at London 2009 when he went out 63:33 and ended up at 2:10:00, and last year’s Olympic Trials.
Because he ran 2:07:45 last year, many seemed to think Ritz had solved the marathon. Today’s race shows he has not. Much of this excerpt from our analysis of his crushing fourth place run at the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials still applies:
Afterwards, he questioned whether he would still be a marathoner in the future. Although this was a PR for Ritz, he was not happy. He said he started cramping in the legs around mile 18, 19. “I tried to ease off and maintain 5:10 pace after that but it was just kind of the same feeling as before. Maybe I’m not made for the marathon. I’m going to turn my attention back to the 10k … I was 9th in Beijing in the marathon and I thought that would be my best event, but so far I’ve been better at shorter distances. I’ll have to turn my attention back to that and focus on that definitely for the short term but maybe for the long term. I’ve tried it (the marathon) enough times and it hasn’t come together yet. I’m a little bit shocked. My training was better than before and I had the same problems (cramping in the legs).”
6) Ritz Has Some Great Company In Not Solving The marathon – World Half Marathon Record Holder Zersenay Tadese Yet Again Failed To Produce
Tadese only has a 2:10:41 marathon PR. Coming into Chicago, he said he’d changed his training, but the results were no better. He wasn’t with the leaders at 20k and was out of the race before 25km. He needs to do something drastic if he’s going to try the marathon again. If you aren’t a proven marathoner, we think trying to run near world record pace is absurd. He should find a lesser tier marathon and try to win in 2:07-2:08.
7) Matt Tegenkamp Does The Marathon
In his marathon debut where he said he was hoping to break 2:10, Tegenkamp started out conservatively before picking it up nicely through 30k and fading at the end. After a 15:35 first 5k, he was 31:00 for 10k (2:10:48 pace) and 65:14 for 13.1. At 30k (1:32:37), he was on 2:10:01 pace, but then the wheels started to fall off.
Teg actually ran faster than Ritz from 30k to 40k, but they both were struggling at this point and then the final 2km Teg really lost it, running over 5:40 pace.
Teg’s 2:12:38 was a disappointment and he’ll have to go back to the drawing board. He needs to figure out the last 5 miles. Hiroaki Sano,who was with Teg at 35km, finished in 2:10:29.
Frank Shorter said the halfway point of the marathon is 20 miles, right? Tegenkamp and Ritz both might feel that way.
8) Let’s Give Some Props To Ayale Abshero For Going For It
The sub-2:04 pace for the first half produced a lot of DNFs and some epic slowdowns. At 30k, Ayale Abshero was with the leaders. At 35k, he was still within 1 minute of the leaders and on 2:04:46 pace,but slowing. His final time? 2:10:10, as he ran the final 7.2 k at 5:57 per mile pace.
More: LRC Men’s Race Recap:Dennis Kimetto Wins, Shatters Course Record With 2:03:45 Clocking
LRC Women’s Race Recap: Rita Jeptoo Wins, Sets World-Leading 2:19:57 Time By Running A Big Negative Split