Heat, what heat? There was no stopping runners on their marathon mission this morning, from crossing the finish line to running personal bests, two feats that can often run awry is the weather is less-than-perfect for a 26.2-mile jaunt. If warm weather was supposed to slow down the runners taking to the streets for the 34th running of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon--or prevent them from toeing the line in the first place, which has happened (in say, 2007)--it never did. The weather didn't keep 35,628 runners from crossing the finish line, the second largest in event history, and with countless PRs to boot. And that personal-best pace was set early, with the elites achieving several records of their own.
In winning the men's race, Moses Mosop broke the tape in 2:05:37, breaking Sammy Wanjiru's 2009 course record by 4 seconds. And in winning the women's race, Liliya Shobukhova became the first athlete in Chicago Marathon history to win the race three consectutive times. Shobukhova accomplished some other feats with her 2:18:20 run, too: her time sets a new Russian national record, it's the second fastest women’s time in event history, and it's the fourth fastest women’s time ever run. This win also solidified her World Marathon Majors title and $500,000 prize.
"Moses and Liliya set the pace for a special day at the 2011 Bank of America Chicago Marathon," said Carey Pinkowski, Bank of America Chicago Marathon Executive Race Director, in a press release.
Second and third place finishers, Wesley Korir (2:06:15) and Bernard Kipyego (2:06:29), respectively, achieved personal bests, as Kenyans dominated the podium. American Ryan Hall fell behind the lead pack after running 14 miles, but he finished fifth with a time of 2:08:04. Among the women, Ejegayehu Dibaba of Ethiopia was runner-up in her debut marathon in 2:22:09 and Rayoka Fukushi of Japan was third in 2:24:38.
The wheelchair race saw two previous winners take home the victories. Kurt Fearnley of Australia won on the men's side, besting defending champion Heinz Frei of Switzerland by a slim margin, 1:29:18 to 1:29:23. Fearnley has won this race four times in the last five years and the year he didn't win, 2010, was because he didn't compete. Among the women, 2009 champion Tatyana McFadden won by more than two minutes with a time of 1:45:03.
To read more about today's race, check out this event press release or the event results. As for my race report, that one's coming.