The United States’ Galen Rupp won the men’s race at the Chicago Marathon on Sunday morning, while Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba claimed the women’s title.
CHICAGO, Ill. (AFP) Galen Rupp became the first American man in 15 years to win the Chicago Marathon while Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba, a three-time Olympic champion, captured the women’s crown.
It was only the fourth career start at the 26.2-mile (42.16km) distance for Rupp, who was second in April’s Boston Marathon and third in last year’s Rio Olympics, and just the third marathon for Tirunesh, a former world and Olympic 5,000 and 10,000m champion.
Galen Rupp: First American winner since Khalid Khannouchi in 2002
“It’s just incredible,” Rupp said. “You train so hard to have a race like this and to have it all come together, words just can’t describe the feeling when I came across the line. It’s just a great day.”
Rupp surged ahead for good with three miles remaining to win in 2hrs 9mins 20secs with Kenyan runner-up Abel Kirui, the defending champion, 28 seconds back and Bernard Kipyego, also of Kenya, third in 2:10:23.
Only one rival remained with Tirunesh past the halfway mark as this year’s London Marathon runner-up cruised to victory in 2:18:31, defeating Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei by 1:51 with American Jordan Hasay third in 2:20:57.
“This is my third marathon and I’m very happy to have won here,” Tirunesh said. “I worked very hard for this.”
Tirunesh Dibaba and Galen Rupp each took a $100,000 top prize at the 40th anniversary edition of the classic, which saw more than 40,000 runners compete on the streets of the US Midwestern metropolis.
Galen Rupp, 31, was the first American man to win the Chicago Marathon since Morocco-born Khalid Khannouchi in 2002. Kenyans had won the Chicago men’s title in 13 of the past 14 years.
· Men’s Title
1. Galen Rupp (USA): 2:09:20
2. Abel Kirui (KEN): 2:09:48
3. Bernard Kipyego (KEN): 2:10:23
· Women’s Title
1. Tirunesh Dibaba (ETH): 2:18:31
2. Brigid Kosgei (KEN): 2:20:22
3. Jordan Hasay (USA): 2:20:57
Kenya’s Dennis Kimetto, world record holder from his 2014 Berlin Marathon triumph in 2:02:57 and the 2013 Chicago champion, led at the halfway mark in 1:05:49 but began limping soon after and by 25km was off the pace for good.
The lead pack slowly dwindled over the next 10km, leaving only Rupp, Kirui and Ethiopia’s Sisay Lemma after 22 miles.
Rupp, who took 2012 Olympic silver at 10,000m, made his charge with three miles remaining and no one had a response.
“I really wanted to wait,” Rupp said. “I felt a little gap pulling away and then I said I’ve just got to put down the hammer and pull away.
“I just tried to relax and when I make the move be decisive. It feels tremendous. I feel so great I was able to pull it out.”
Tirunesh Dibaba dominates
Tirunesh Dibaba vowed to challenge the women’s course record of 2:17:18 set by British world record holder Paula Radcliffe in 2002 and was on that pace in the early going.
Tirunesh Dibaba led after 5km in 16:08, 19 seconds under Radcliffe’s course record pace, and had trimmed the field in the lead pack to only five.
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