How Did The American Men Run In Chicago?

October 12, 2014

Coming into the 2014 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, it was fairly clear that there would be no American men competing for the win. The fastest PR on paper was Bobby Curtis‘ 2:13:24, which was 9 minutes and 19 seconds slower than Eliud Kipchoge‘s 2:04:05. Even if Kipchoge had an off day (which he didn’t), there were a slew of other 2:04-2:05 Africans, so an American even getting in the top 5 was going to be a tall order.

Curtis led the American men with a 2:11:20 PR and ninth-place finish. He had gone through half-way with Americans Matt Llano (debut) and Gabe Proctor (D-II NCAA 5k and 10k champ, born in Ethiopia). Proctor would hang on to be the third American in 2:13:45 while Llano faded to 2:17:43. The second American was Curtis’ Hansons-Brooks training partner Jake Riley, who was 11th in his debut in 2:13:16. The American women, led by 5th-placer Amy Hastings who equaled her pr of 2:27:03, had five in the top 10. We’re going to talk about the American women in a separate article.

We have to disagree with this thread: “Americans Disappoint in Chicago” that is Super Hot on, where the original poster felt the Americans disappointed in Chicago because he thought there would have been a “handful under 2:10.” How many Americans still racing currently have ever broken 2:10? Four. We thought the 9th-place finish by Curtis and 5th place by Hastings were very impressive performances.

Below we give a quick analysis of the American men’s performances.

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Bobby Curtis – 9th place – 2:11:20

As we said in our main recap, a nice run by Curtis who PR’d by 2:04 to put himself in the top 5 American performances in 2014. Curtis had struggled with the marathon in his first two, running 2:16:44 in his debut followed by 2:13:24. These times are nowhere near his level on the track where he is a 13:18/27:24 guy. His 27:24 converts to something in the high 2:08 range according to JK’s conversion charts. His 2:11:20 still isn’t on the level of his 10K, but it’s a hell of a lot closer.

Jake Riley – 11th – 2:13:16

This is a solid debut by the Hansons-Brooks runner. A ton of people completely bomb in their debut or at least have a significant positive split, but Riley ran almost dead-even splits. He went through halfway in 66:33 and came home in 66:43. His 28:08 10K PR converts to something around 2:12:20. To be only a minute off that in his debut is great and overall a very positive first marathon experience.

Gabe Proctor – 12th – 2:13:45
Proctor, a D-II star who won the 5k and 10k at Western State, is now part of the Mammoth Track Club (Deena Kastor‘s group) and he turned heads today by going out with Curtis and Llano at half-way (1:05:32). He would fade some the second half, but this was a huge PR, despite going out very hard. His best coming in was only 2:16:17 in his debut from March. Impressive run.

Christo Landry – 13th – 2:14:30

Landry has been the man of the year on the roads (he’s actually on the list of candidates for USATF Athlete of the Year), placing well in multiple U.S. Championships including winning the 25K Champs, tying the American record. However, today was not his day as he had spoken pre-race about going out in 1:05:30 and trying to negative split. Instead he was out in 1:06:05 and still faded. Still a PR by 14 seconds, but not what he was hoping for.

Matt Llano – 24th – 2:17:43

Llano was one of the most talked about Americans coming into this race as he had mentioned earlier in the summer the possibility of getting Ryan Hall‘s American debut record (2:08:24). When we spoke to him pre-race, he seemed to have tempered his expectations a bit as he wanted to go out in 1:05:30 and negative split to run sub-2:10. Well, as so many people find out the hard way in their debut, the marathon is a tough nut to crack. Llano ran exactly what he wanted the first half going through in 1:05:30, but then started fading badly after 30K with a 35K to 40K split at 6:03 pace and a 40K to finish split at 6:58 pace. Llano’s 61:47 half PR (and that is by far his best PR) is worth about 2:11:20ish on JK’s charts, so sub-2:10 was definitely a very ambitious goal to start with, especially on his first time out. It sounded like he had a great buildup coming in and likes the marathon-type training, so hopefully he’ll figure it out for the next one.

Tim Young – 14th – 2:14:40 and Mike Morgan – 15th – 2:14:42

Young got a PR improving his previous 2:15:14 from Houston in January. Morgan was only 20 seconds off his best of 2:14:22 (Houston 2012).

Craig Leon – 19th – 2:16:00

He ran 2:13:53 here last year, so it’s safe to assume he’s not happy with this. He was through 13.1 in 1:06:05 and then started fading hard after 30K.

Last, but not least, how did the “blue collar” guys from the LRC Roundtable Interview do???

Carlos Trujillo – 20th place in 2:16:49 (PB is 2:14:21).
Patrick Rizzo – 25th in 2:18:04 (PB is 2:13:42).
Jameson Mora – 32nd place in 2:20:38. PB is 2:15:44 and he wanted to run 2:15 by negative splitting.
Stephen Pifer – DNF after going through halfway in 1:06:05. He dropped out sometime after going through 35K in 1:50:45 which is still on 2:13:31 pace. We wonder what happened since he was still on great pace with 7K to go. Did the wheels just completely fall off or was it something else?

Post-race video with Amy Hastings and Bobby Curtis below

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