Wanjiru and Shobukhova Win 2nd Chicago Marathon

Chicago Marathon

The 2010 Bank of America Chicago Marathon (Photo: Steven Dahlman – MarinaCityOnline.com (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons)

Sammy Wanjiru of Kenya and Liliya Shobukhova of Russia each won their second consecutive Bank of America Chicago Marathon today in the race’s toughest field in history.

In temperatures close to the ’80s, Wanjiru fought off a last mile surge from Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia to win the men’s race in 2:06:24. Kebede, 23, placed second in the sprint finish that saw the two men repeatedly trading the lead over the last mile. Twenty-year-old Fayisa Lilesa of Ethiopia finished third.

With today’s win, Wanjiru has also clinched victory in the 2009-2010 World Marathon Majors, a two-year competition with a $1 million prize purse.

The Majors won’t be officially decided until the 2010 ING New York City Marathon on Nov. 7, but no other runner has enough points to catch-up to Wanjiru. That is, unless Kebede decides to run New York. Now 10 points behind Wanjiru in the Majors rankings, he’d need to place second or first in order to win the Majors; a third place finish would mean a tie. But Kebede has not announced any plans to run New York.

Wanjiru has now won five of his eight career marathons. At just 23 years old, Wanjiru might be the next Haile Gebrselassie.

In the women’s race, defending Chicago Marathon champion and reigning London Marathon champion Liliya Shobukhova of Russia won the race in 2:20:25. She set a new personal record and Russian record in the process. Astede Baysa of Ethiopia and Maria Konovalova of Russia finished second and third.

With her victory today, Shobukhova also won the 2009-2010 World Marathon Majors. No other woman has enough points to catch her. She and likely Wanjiru will split the $1 million prize.

Winning her last three consecutive marathons–and today’s race by over 3 minutes–Shobukhova has established herself as the woman to beat on the road.

In the hotly contested men’s wheelchair competition, Heinz Frei of Switzerland set a new course record
in his Bank of America Chicago Marathon debut. Frei, a 12-time World Champion and Paralympic gold medalist, finished in 1:26:56.

A record 38,132 entrants started the race in Chicago’s Grant Park. The flat course has become popular with runners seeking personal records.

Here’s the epic finish to the men’s race:

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Karla Bruning


Karla Bruning is a race announcer at the TCS New York City Marathon + other major events, TV host for the New York City Triathlon + contributor to Shape, Redbook, Runner's World + other publications. She used to report for Newsweek but spent her free time squeezing in workouts. Now it's her job. She's run 8 marathons, 30 halves, 10 triathlons + open water swims. When she's not running, talking about running or writing about running, she's snuggling her baby, spoiling her dog + compulsively traveling.


10 2010