Tirunesh Dibaba Wins The First Marathon Of Her Career In Chicago in 2:18:31 As Jordan Hasay Runs The #2 Time in US History (2:20:57)

By LetsRun.com
October 8, 2017

CHICAGO – Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba, who during her illustrious career has won 12 global titles including three Olympic golds, added a new accomplishment to her CV today — she won her first marathon as she captured the 2017 Bank of America Chicago Marathon in 2:18:31 – the second-fastest time ever recorded in Chicago. Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei was second in a massive new pb of 2:20:22 (previous pb of 2:24:45).

American Jordan Hasay, who turned heads with a 2:23:00 debut in Boston in April, was even better today in marathon number two as she ran 2:20:57 — the second fastest time ever recorded by an American and the fastest time ever recorded by an American woman on U.S. soil (previous American best on U.S. soil was Joan Samuelson’s 2:21:21 from 1985, also in Chicago). Hasay’s big PR was much-deserved as she boldly hung with the leaders through a blistering first half which Hasay hit in 69:13 (Dibaba ran 69:10).

The Race

Dibaba wins Dibaba wins

Dibaba’s victory was much-deserved as well as she hammered from the gun. She ran her first 5k in 16:09 (that’s 2:16:09 pace) but five women were still with her at halfway. Shortly after that it became a two-person battle between Dibaba and Kosgei as Kosgei did her best to stay with Dibaba, who often was swerving from side to side to prevent Kosgei from drafting off of her. A 5:15 20th mile gave Dibaba a sizeable lead, which only grew to the finish.

With Dibaba’s victory assured, the only drama was how well everyone else would hold up until the finish as all of the five women in the lead pack at halfway ran a positive split. The race’s top three were all rewarded with strong times as Dibaba went 69:10 – 69:21, Kosgei 69:10 – 70:12, and Hasay 69:13 – 71:44, but the super-fast first half produced real carnage for two-time defending champ Florence Kiplagat, who would drop out, and Valentine Kipketer, who finished fifth in 2:28:05 the hard way by going 69:12 – 78:53.

Hasay sprints for sub-2:21 Hasay sprints for sub-2:21

As for Hasay, while she did slow down over the second half, she found life after 40k when she realized a sub-2:21 clocking was possible. At 40k, Hasay was on 2:21:05 pace, but she shifted to sprint mode coming home and was visibly pleased to have broken 2:21 at the finish after hitting 2:23 flat exactly in Boston. Shortly after finishing, Hasay collapsed to the ground — clearly she had worked hard for this one.

Quick Take #1: Dibaba’s GOAT status is being cemented — she is a star in the marathon just like she was on the track

Before she even moved to the marathon, the argument could be made that Dibaba already was the greatest women’s distance runner in history, given her 12 global titles and world record in the 5000. Now that she’s excelling in the marathon, she’s leaving little doubt to her GOAT status.

Dibaba has now run three marathon with the slowest being her 2:20:35 third place debut in London in 2014. This year, she’s run 2:17:56 and 2:18:31.

That’s very impressive. While 22 women in history have broken 2:20, only six women have broken 2:20 more than once and Dibaba now joins Paula Radcliffe as just the second woman to break 2:20 twice in the same year (Radcliffe did it in 2002 in London and Chicago).

Most Career Sub-2:20s
Paula Radcliffe (4)
Catherine Ndereba (3)
Mary Keitany (3)
Tirunesh Dibaba (2)
Rita Jeptoo (2)
Mare Dibaba (2)

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From the beginning, Dibaba was clearly going for a quick time and she explained that focus after the race.

“I actually wasn’t running against anyone,” Dibaba said through translator Sabrina Yohannes. “I was just [chasing] my personal best.”

She also said that she has enjoyed the marathon, which will be her primary event from now on.

“This is actually perhaps easier than 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters,” Dibaba said through her translator.

What’s next for Dibaba? She said she wants to lower her PR even further and, God willing, “tackle the world record with pacemakers” at some point. That could happen as soon as next spring in London. We imagine Dibaba and Mary Keitany going after Paula Radcliffe’s 2:15:25 world record would be quite an intriguing race.

Quick Take #2: Jordan Hasay is the real deal and the US’s #1 marathoner in our books

A tired Jordan Hasay at the finish A tired Jordan Hasay at the finish

If you had told us at the start of 2017 that you believed Jordan Hasay would one day run a 2:23 flat marathon and be top 3 at a World Marathon Major, we would have thought you were making a very bold prediction on both fronts – time and place. While Hasay was a high school and collegiate star in the US, she has never even made a US Olympic team.

Now Hasay has twice run 2:23:00 or better and twice been top 3 at a major.

It’s clear that Hasay’s best event is the 26.2 distance. In many ways, she’s the U.S.’s poor woman’s version of Paula Radcliffe. Very much hyped for her teenage exploits – but never quite able to live up to lofty expectations on the oval – she’s found her calling in the marathon, an event she is MUCH better at than the track.

Hasay admitted that she did not foresee this much success this quickly when she moved up to the marathon this year, but it is clear to her that she has found her calling.

“I had always hoped that I’d be great at the marathon, and so I’m really glad we decided to move up this young,” Hasay said. “I just love the marathon. That’s what I was telling myself out there, I’m just like you’re great in the marathon, this is your event, this is what you love. I just love the training for it, I love the buildup. It’s definitely my event. Some people are just gifted at certain things.”

With all apologies to Amy Cragg, who just won a bronze medal at the World Championships, Jordan Hasay is the #1 US marathoner in our books right now. Cragg’s PB is just 2:27:03 (from her debut in 2011 believe it or not) and her best career finish in a major other than the bronze in London this summer was 4th in Chicago in 2014.

Quick Take #3: It took guts for Hasay to run her race today, but it paid off

When Dibaba started pushing the pace early in the race, Hasay quickly faced a choice: stay with the lead group or hang back and try to run her own race with the hope that she might have a few sub-elite men to run with. Hasay decided to hang up front, and she admitted that while it was “scary” to look at the lead vehicle and see projected times in the 2:16 to 2:18 range, she felt good and wanted to give herself a chance.

“I was very worried [when she went with the leaders early],” Salazar said. “The idea was to sit back with the second group and kind of run for third, thinking maybe one of those two girls probably throws up and then she has a chance for second.”

But it wasn’t just the two girls Salazar expected up front — Dibaba and Cheruiyot — but Brigid Kosgei and Valentine Kipketer too. With a group that size and no other women close, Hasay had a tough decision to make.

“[If] you go off the back end, you are now having to break wind and still air by yourself, so you may end up spending as much energy back there by yourself as you would running at the faster pace,” Salazar said. “But it’s a real fine line.”

But Hasay showed today that she doesn’t just have the fitness to be a great marathoner, but the racing chops as well.

“When she fell back, I thought, Oh God, here it goes,” Salazar said. “But then all of a sudden we saw that the gap wasn’t widening and I thought, Okay, she feels good, she just made the decision to run this pace. So I stopped being nervous.”

Top 30 results appear below. Talk about the race on our fan forum.

Top 30 Results
1 Dibaba, Tirunesh (ETH) 2:18:31
2 Kosgei, Brigid (KEN) 2:20:22
3 Hasay, Jordan (USA) Beaverton, OR 2:20:57
4 Perez, Madai (MEX) 2:24:44
5 Kipketer, Valentine (KEN) 2:28:05
6 Weightman, Lisa (AUS) 2:28:45
7 Krifchin, Maegan (USA) Atlanta, GA 2:33:46
8 Gray, Alia (USA) Boulder, CO 2:34:25
9 Ward, Taylor (USA) Ogden, UT 2:35:27
10 Wade, Becky (USA) Denver, CO 2:35:46
11 McMahan, Dot (USA) Rochester Hills, MI 2:37:08
12 Reed, Kimi (USA) Springfield, MO 2:38:19
13 Crouch, Sarah (USA) Phoenix, AZ 2:38:27
14 Draskau Petersson, Jessica (DEN) 2:38:31
15 Vergara-Aleshire, Christina (USA) Henderson, NV 2:38:33
16 Heckert, Kristen (USA) Bolingbrook, IL 2:38:54
17 Kohnen, Julia (USA) Florissant, MO 2:39:11
18 Njeim, Chirine (LIB) Chicago, IL 2:39:21
19 Herrick, Danna (USA) Rochester Hills, MI 2:40:02
20 Spencer, Emma (USA) Cambridge, MA 2:40:48
21 Andre, Stephanie (USA) Bixby, OK 2:41:50
22 Moran, Brittany (CAN) Etobicoke, ON 2:41:58
23 De Hueck, Jennifer (USA) Rapid City, SD 2:42:33
24 Schneider, Alyssa (USA) Bartlett, IL 2:42:50
25 Foster, Megan (USA) New York, NY 2:43:44
26 Chrisman, Caitlin (USA) Mountain View, CA 2:43:57
27 Perez, Anita (USA) San Antonio, TX 2:44:04
28 Lilienthal, Michelle (USA) Portland, ME 2:44:05
29 Enman, Kasie (USA) Huntington, VT 2:44:16
30 Weitz, Erica (USA) Orlando, FL 2:45:24


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