December 11, 2019
We are determining the RACE OF THE DECADE (overview here).
Below you’ll find the matchups for the round of 64 in the Kipchoge Region (road/cross country races) in our Race of the Decade bracket. Voting will be open until the end of the day (midnight ET) on Thursday, December 12.
You can vote on matchups in the other regions by clicking the links below.
Race descriptions by Jonathan Gault.
(1) 2010 Chicago Marathon, men’s race
Counted out after injuries, a DNF in London earlier in the year, and a nasty stomach flu in his buildup, the late, great Sammy Wanjiru was dropped no less than three times over the final miles by Ethiopian Tsegaye Kebede but rallied back to win a slugfest. The stakes were high as well: the winner between Wanjiru and Kebede, who had won London earlier in the year, earned $500,000 as the World Marathon Majors champion.
Sadly, this would be the last race of Wanjiru’s career; within eight months, he would be dead at the age of 24.
(16) 2018 Foot Locker Cross Country Championships, girls’ race
2017 runner-up Katelynne Hart led most of the race, but there were three lead changes over the dramatic final 200 meters after Hart was caught by sophomore Sydney Masciarelli. Masciarelli ultimately won a close one by just 0.7 of a second.
(2) 2013 Great North Run, men’s race
Kenenisa Bekele, left off of Ethiopia’s World Championship team for the first time in his senior career, bounced back to prevail in a battle of legends against Haile Gebrselassie and Mo Farah. Early in the race, Bekele feigned fatigue, dropping back and allowing Geb and Farah to increase the pace, only to storm back and hold off Farah — who had run 3:28 for 1500 that summer — over the final meters. A legendary race between three legends of the sport.
(15) 2018 NCAA Cross Country Championships, men’s race
The Morgan McDonald–Grant Fisher duel lived up to the hype, with McDonald outkicking Fisher in the snow on his home course in Madison to win the NCAA title.
(3) 2014 Boston Marathon, men’s race
One year after a tragic finish-line bombing resulted in the deaths of four people, a 38-year-old American named Meb Keflezighi took off eight miles into the 2014 Boston Marathon and earned a historic victory. Running with the names of the victims on his bib, Meb ran a personal best of 2:08:37 to become the first American champion at Boston in 31 years.
How unlikely was Meb’s win? Before the race, we pegged the odds of an American victory at somewhere between 1 in 27 and 1 in 19,813.
(14) 2011 Boston Marathon, men’s race
A strong, perfectly-angled tailwind blowing throughout the race led to fantasy times at 2011 Boston. Two men — Geoffrey Mutai (2:03:02) and debutant Moses Mosop (2:03:06) ran well under the world record of 2:03:59, with Mutai taking almost three minutes off the Boston course record. Ryan Hall finished 4th in 2:04:58 — still the fastest marathon ever run by an American.
(4) 2016 World Half Marathon Championships, men’s race
Despite falling at the start and getting trampled by the mass racers behind him — he was on the ground for seven seconds — Geoffrey Kamworor regained his footing to blast a 59:10 on a wet, windy day in Cardiff and retain his world title. Kamworor destroyed a quality field, winning by 26 seconds — all of which came in the final mile — over Bedan Karoki, who had been undefeated in half marathons to that point. World 5k/10k champ Mo Farah was a further 23 seconds back in 3rd.
(13) 2011 Foot Locker Cross Country Championships, boys’ race
Edward Cheserek and Futsum Zienasellassie staged one of the greatest duels in Foot Locker history, with Cheserek edging Zienasellassie by 0.6 of a second. Third-placer Nathan Weitz was almost 30 seconds back, and for good reason — this was the first time two boys broke 14:55 in the same race at Balboa Park since 1993, when Adam Goucher and Meb Keflezighi pulled it off.
(5) 2018 Berlin Marathon, men’s race
By September 2018, Eliud Kipchoge was already widely acknowledged as the greatest marathoner of all time. But whether due to weather, faulty equipment, or other factors, the world record had eluded him. Kipchoge put that right by crushing the 2:02 barrier and taking 78 seconds off Dennis Kimetto’s world record with a 2:01:39 in Berlin.
(12) 2013 World Cross Country Championships, men’s race
The United States beat Kenya in a cross country race. Yes, it really happened. In a race we christened the Miracle on Dirt, the American squad of Ben True, Chris Derrick, Ryan Vail, Bobby Mack, Elliott Heath, and James Strang stunned Kenya to earn the silver medal at World XC in Poland. Entering the race, Kenya had won 24 of the last 26 senior men’s team titles and the US hadn’t been on the podium since 1984.
(6) 2019 Chicago Marathon, women’s race
After running the second half of the 2019 London Marathon in 66:42, it was clear that Brigid Kosgei was capable of running a lot faster than the 2:18:20 she recorded that day. In Chicago, she showed just how fast, crushing Paula Radcliffe’s 2:15:25 world record with an otherworldly 2:14:04 that redefined what women were capable of over 26.2 miles.
(11) 2015 London Marathon, men’s race
It seems hard to remember, but back in April 2015, there was actually an argument about who was the best marathoner in the world. Wilson Kipsang, the 2014 London and New York champion? Dennis Kimetto, fresh off a world record in Berlin? Or Eliud Kipchoge, winner of three of his four career marathons?
The race lived up to the hype, with Kipchoge dropping Kipsang in the final mile and earning the title of world’s greatest marathoner. Almost five years later, he hasn’t given it up.
(7) 2019 Berlin Marathon, men’s race
Written off (again) as a marathoner, Kenenisa Bekele erased a 13-second deficit at 35 kilometers to win his second Berlin Marathon title and come just two seconds shy of Eliud Kipchoge’s 2:01:39 world record.
(10) 2018 Boston Marathon, men’s race
By 2018, the legend of Yuki Kawauchi was well-established, the full-time government clerk who doubled as the world’s most prolific marathoner in his spare time. On the first day of 2018, Kawauchi braved 1-degree (Fahrenheit) temperatures to run 2:18 in the tiny Marshfield New Year’s Day Marathon. It was his 76th sub-2:20 marathon, a world record.
During that trip, Kawauchi also checked out the Boston Marathon course. When he returned three months later to run Boston for real, no one gave Kawauchi a chance. But on a day that rewarded suffering, the Emperor of Pain, who was mocked on the race broadcast for leading the first mile in 4:37, pulled off the most improbable World Marathon Major victory of all time.
(8) 2017 New York City Marathon, women’s race
Her first World Marathon Major victory was a long time coming for the 36-year-old Shalane Flanagan. Before the race, even Flanagan admitted that if Mary Keitany — fresh off a 2:17:01 in London that spring — was at her best, she couldn’t hang with her. But Keitany was off her game in NYC, and Flanagan took full advantage, running a splendid final five miles to become the first American women’s champ in NYC in 40 years. [email protected]#% yes.
(9) 2018 Boston Marathon, women’s race
Just five months after Shalane Flanagan’s NYC win, Des Linden joined her as a World Marathon Major champion, overcoming horrific conditions (she ran the entire race in a jacket) to win by over four minutes and become the first US women’s champ in Boston since 1985.
You can vote on matchups in the other regions by clicking the links below.