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Wanjiru, Shobukhova repeat marathon champs

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mara-menchamp-cbs.jpg Samuel Wanjiru crosses the finish line Sunday to win his second straight Bank of America Chicago Marathon. (Stacey Wescott/Tribune)

By Philip Hersh

In a stunning mano-a-mano battle, Samuel Wanjiru of Kenya outran Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia in the final half mile Sunday to win a second straight Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

Wanjiru made three moves against Kebede, the last finally breaking his Ethiopian rival as he won by 19 seconds in 2 hours, 6 minutes, 24 seconds.

The victory likely was worth $615,000 to Wanjiru, the 2008 Olympic champion.

That includes $75,000 for winning, a $40,000 time bonus and $500,000 as winner of the 2009-10 World Marathon Majors trophy. Wanjiru will get the last payoff unless Kebede makes the unlikely decision to run the New York Marathon four weeks from now and finishes first or second.

The temperature had risen to 73 degrees when Russia's Liliya Shobukhova won her second straight title, giving Chicago back-to-back men's and women's titles for the first time since the race began in 1977.

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Shobukhova clinched the $500,000 as World Marathon Majors champion. She also got $75,000 for the win and a $40,000 time bonus for her winning time.

Shobukhova's time, 2:20:25, was fastest in the world in two years, making her the 10th fastest woman in history and breaking the Russian record of 2:40.47 Galina Bogomolova of Russia set in Chicago four years ago.

"I don't even believe I have all this money," Shobukhova said.

Astede Baysa of Ethiopia was second, more than three minutes behind. Wanjiru, 23, had been bothered by a knee injury that made his participation in the race uncertain until recently. He had dropped out of April's London Marathon after 16 miles.

Jason Hartmann, 29, of Rockford, Mich., was the top U.S. men's finisher, taking eighth place in a personal record 2:11:06.

Californian Desiree Davila, who trains in Michigan, took fourth in 2:26:20, making her the fourth fastest U.S. runner in history. Magdalena Lewy-Boulet, who had been the fourth fastest (2:26:22), was seventh in 2:28:44.

Tera Moody of St. Charles took 10th in a personal best 2:30:53, bettering her previous best by 2:06.

Moody, 29, was a member of the U.S. team at the 2009 World Championships.

Despite the heat, the elite men's pace began to accelerate dramatically in the fifth mile, which they covered in 4 minutes, 40 seconds, and the sixth, in 4:39. It was projecting to a 2 hour, 4 minute, 27 second finish, which would have matched the third fastest marathon ever.

The expected contenders, including Wanjiru and four Ethiopians, all were in the nine men running at the lead after 6 miles.

The women's race shook out earlier, with a group of four moving into the lead. Askale Magarsa, Astede Baysa and Mamitu Daska of Ethiopia were running together at the lead through the first 10 miles, with Shobukhova hanging about 10 meters back. Daska and Baysa moved away from Magarsa as they reached the halfway point in 1:09:45.

With little cloud cover and little shade, the fast early pace was unlikely to continue. The men went through the halfway point in 1:02:35, with all the top pack of eight including all the contenders.

In the 20th mile of the men's race, as Tsegaye Kebede surged with a 4:40 mile, the leaders were down to three: Wanjiru, Feyisa Lilesa, and Tsegaye Kebede.

After trailing by 24 seconds in the 19th mile, Shobukova took the lead two miles later.

There were 38,132 official starters.


George Duda on October 11, 2010 9:54 PM

The very first Marathon in 1977 was all along the Lake front just fyi

D. Ware, you could've stopped after the first four words of your post and still been 100% correct.

D. were given ample notice of this event and alternative routes and suggestions. This event is 1 day in Chicago and it is GREAT for our city....the revenue, the exposure, the planning, and the cooperative effort of everyone involved.
Next time, pay attention! YOU could've planned better.

This Marathon is terrible for the people traveling in the city. They should designate a running area that does not close down main bus routes. Why can't they shut down Lake Shore drive and let them run there? Why are they closing hundreds of roads all over the city? This is crazy, it took me 3 hours to get from downtown home today. Someone needs to better organize this event, they city should not be shut down, you might have well been driving in a maze today. And the suggestion of using public transportation would be great if you could find where the transportation is?

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