Defending champs Wanjiru, Shobukhova win Marathon
65 runners hospitalized, according to race officials
Sammy Wanjiru defended his Bank of America Chicago Marathon title with a furious finishing kick to pass Ethiopian Tsegaye Kebede in one of the race's greatest finishes. The 23-year-old Kenyan won in 2 hours, 6 minutes, 24 seconds.
Liliya Shobukhova defended her title too, winning in 2:20:25. The Russian took the lead in the 21st mile and achieved her goal of setting the Russian record, previously 2:20:47.
The men pushed a record pace much of the race, hitting the half-way point with Kebede running it in 62:37 just behind the pacer.
Heinz Frei of Switzerland made his debut in the wheelchair race memorable with the 51-year-old winning with a course record 1:26:56. American Amanda McGrory won the women's wheelchair in 1:47:25.
The top male and female finisher each will get a $75,000 prize. There are also bonuses tied to top finishing times.
Race officials said 65 runners were hospitalized, a number in line with past years. There were no known fatalities.
During the day, ratings of the weather conditions were raised, with the marathon starting at "green," rising to "yellow" or caution at 9:15 a.m. and by 11:30 a.m. raised to red, telling runners to use caution. Marathon organizers made adjustments around 12:30 p.m., as temperatures started to decline a little, but they kept the red alert anyway.
Athletes were reminded to take extra care of themselves. "Slow down, listen to your body, continue to hydrate along the course and shed any extraneous clothing,’’ marathon spokesman Joe Goode said.
All in all, the marathon has been going “great,’’Goode said.“So far, it’s been exceptional,’’ he said.
The marathon course, which started at 7:30 a.m. and ends in Grant Park, winds through numerous Chicago neighborhoods, including Old Town, Greektown, Chinatown, Lincoln Park and Lake View.
Participants and spectators are encouraged to use the CTA, which added additional cars to its trains to accommodate the crowds, according to a CTA release.
Because bus routes in the vicinity of the marathon also will be impacted with intermittent reroutes or delays due to lane closures, the CTA recommends that riders allow extra travel time.
Marathon officials expect to go through 54,600 gallons of water, 45,000 bananas, 32,000 bagels, and more than 46,000 gallons of Gatorade.
When runners take their spots at the start of the marathon, many of them toss off a layer of clothing that they wear over their running clothes.
Last year, 350 pounds of this discarded clothing was collected and donated to Chicago’s Pacific Garden Mission, according to the marathon. Additionally, in 2009, 34,705 pounds of fresh and unused food and water was collected at the finish line and donated to the Greater Chicago Food Depository.