5 Quick Thoughts On The 2014 Chicago Marathon: Eliud Kipchoge is a star, Kenenisa Bekele is looking for answers, a great race up front (even if you didn’t realize it), Bobby Curtis PRs and more

by LetsRun.com
October 12, 2014

Eliud Kipchoge is the king of the roads in Chicago.

Kipchoge, 2003 World 5000m champion, running in his fourth marathon, threw down a 4:33 24th mile to pull away and get the win at the 2014 Bank of America Chicago Marathon in 2:04:11, defeating the more heralded Kenenisa Bekele in the process, just as he did 11 years ago on the track.

Top 30 results can be found here, but we’ve got five quick thoughts on the race below.

Five Quick Thoughts:

Eliud Kipchoge wins 2014 Chicago Eliud Kipchoge wins 2014 Chicago

1) Eliud Kipchoge’s Marathon Record is Impeccable.

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Look at Kipchoge’s marathon results:

April 2013 – 2:05:30 Hamburg Marathon Debut Win
September 2014 – 2:04:05 Berlin Marathon 2nd Place to Wilson Kipsang’s world record
April 2014 – 2:05:00 Rotterdam Marathon Win
October 2014 – 2:04:11 Chicago Marathon Win

4 marathons, 3 wins, a 2:04:41.5 average time and now a marathon major win.

It doesn’t get much better than that. The question now is – is he the king of the roads everywhere?

For comparison’s sake, world record holder Dennis Kimetto has also finished four marathons. He’s won three of the four and has a 2:04:27 average time. So Kimetto has a slightly faster average time and three of his wins have been at a major but Kimetto has a DNF on his resume whereas Kipchoge doesn’t.

Dennis Kimetto’s Career Marathons
September 2012-  2:04:16 2nd in Berlin (many think he let G. Mutai win)
February 2013 – 2:06:50 win in Tokyo
October 2013 – 2:03:45 course record win in Chicago
April 2014 – DNF in Boston
September 2014 – 2:02:57 world record in Berlin

The two are very good and Kimetto deserves to be considered the world’s #1 right now but Kipchoge is right there behind them. One messageboard poster claims that Kipchoge, who trains with 2:03:13 man Emmanuel Mutai, gets the best of Mutai in practice.

One thing is a fact – Kipchoge has taken extremely well to the marathon. Talking to him this week, you could sense he was confident. His training group is led by coach Patrick Sang and also includes Olympic champ Stephen Kiprotich in addition to Mutai.

We’ll have more on this later, but Kipchoge is very confident in his coach and training saying it is training “of the 21st century.”

2) Back to the drawing board for Bekele  

2:05:51 isn’t a terrible time and two sub 2:06 marathons in his first two attempts is nothing to be ashamed of but given his status as the greatest track distance runner in history, today’s race was certainly disappointing by the standards expected of Bekele.

Bekele coming in had felt he overtrained for his debut in Paris and reduced his mileage to 160-180km a week here from the 180-200km he ran for Paris.

After this one was over, Bekele’s initial thoughts were, “I need to analyze my training.” His manager Jos Hermens told us that he things Bekele needs to do longer runs.

Jet-lag and Bekele not sleeping well were discussed as a possible reason for his run today and we totally 100% view that as a possibility. We were stunned to learn that Bekele got to Chicago after we did (we got here Thursday morning, he got here Thursday afternoon). (We have a separate article here that discusses the jet lag in more detail and has video with Bekele’s post-race comments).

One thing is certain, the marathon is now so deep there is no longer time for a track star to gradually adapt to the marathon.

Consider this: former world 10,000 record holder Paul Tergat ran 2:08 in his first two marathons and was second in both, including a 2:08:56 in Chicago in 2001. Bekele would have beaten Tergat by more than a half a mile today, but he was only 4th today. Similarly, Mo Farah was only 8th in London in 2:08:21 this spring.

Gebrselassie’s first two marathons that he finished he ran 2:06s.

3) You probably didn’t realize it but this was a great race up front.

The TV commentators and even Kipchoge himself were a little disappointed with the winning time. We don’t want to hear the negativity.

We don’t like judging things by time, but if you want to do that, then consider this fact. The third placer today – Dickson Chumba (2:04:32) – was the fastest third-placer in the history of marathoning.

2:04:49 (3rd in Dubai in 2013) was the fastest anyone had ever run and finished third in a race before. Chumba blew that record away and it was pretty windy during the race. The course record until last year was 2:04:38.

Now, we will allow negativity on one front. There is no denying that the television coverage of the men’s elite race was pretty awful. But hey, we’ve come to expect that.

It almost seems without fail, even without the technical difficulties they were experiencing today, that if you are watching a major marathon in the United States that the television producers will find a way to miss covering the break in the men’s race live. It happened again today.

4) A nice run by American Bobby Curtis

The Hansons Brooks athlete came in with a 2:13:24 pb and left with a 2:11:20 pb, placing ninth – the only American male in the top 10.

He’s now ranked #4 in terms of fastest times by an American in 2014

Fastest 2014 American Marathon Times:

  1. Meb Keflezighi 2:08:37
  2. Jeff Eggleston 2:10:52
  3. Ryan Vail 2:10:57
  4. Bobby Curtis 2:11:20
  5. Fernando Cabada 2:11:36

5) Kipchoge is a great ambassador for the sport.

The guy had a smile on his face during the race and after as well. He got rave reviews on the messageboard for giving the fans high fives after the race. He said inspirational things at the post-race press conference (in English). We wrote a separate article on what a great ambassador Kipchoge is. You can read it here.

Want coverage of the elite men’s and women’s races in Chicago? Check out the front page of LetsRun.com – The Home of Running or go to our special 2014 Chicago Marathon section. Or you can see how it was covered live in our fan forum: MB: Official 2014 Chicago Marathon Live Race Discussion Thread.

Eliud Kipchoge smiles Screenshot (590)

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