Evans Rutto continues unique marathon win streak in Chicago
2004-10-11Evans Rutto is the man to beat in the marathon. The Kenyan, who had not been nominated by his federation for the Olympic marathon, won the Chicago Marathon in a first class time of 2:06:16. By doing so the 26 year-old has now won all his three marathon races. It was a year ago when Rutto, who is coached together with a couple of other Kenyans by Uta Pippig’s coach Dieter Hogen, had won the Chicago Marathon with an unofficial debut world record of 2:05:50. Then he had won the London Marathon in April in 2:06:18 despite a bad fall. Never before has a marathon runner won his first three races at the classic distance with such outstanding times. And additionally all three races were high quality ones.
About 40,000 runners had entered the Chicago Marathon which was witnessed by 1.2 million spectators along the route. But for the elite runners conditions were not ideal since there was a strong head wind in the last part of the race. Wind speeds reached up to 20 miles. Romanian Constantina Tomescu-Dita, who had been second a year ago, won the women’s race in a time of 2:23:45. Second was Nuta Olaru (Romania/2:24:33), third was last year’s winner Svetlana Zahkarova (Russia/2:25:01).
The chase for Pual Tergat’s world record – the Kenyan had run 2:04:55 las year in Berlin – began with a big mistake by the Kenyan pacemakers. They had started far too fast, passing 5 k in 14:25 minutes and 5 miles in 23:38 – these are times that lead to a finishing time of sub 2:04. Laban Kipkemboi, Boston winner Timothy Cherigat (both Kenya) and John Yuda (Tanzania) had set the pace. All three belong to Dieter Hogen’s training group as well. Cherigat and Yuda will run the New York Marathon. Obviously they felt in great shape already in Chicago but lost control. The half marathon point was reached in 62:24.
Now running without pacemakers Evans Rutto lead the first group through 25 k in 1:13:35. And at 30 k (1:29:04) – Laban Kipkemboi (Kenia) had taken the lead for a short time, but was soon the last rival to be left behind by Rutto – the world record seemed still within reach. But now the wind started to blow into Rutto’s face and he was getting tired.
“The pace was too fast at the beginning. I slowed a bit because we had a long way to go“, Evans Rutto later explained. The Kenyans had shocked their coach as well with their high speed start. Dieter Hogen was standing at the roadside shouting at them to slow down. “They have made the biggest mistake you can make in a marathon. Although we had talked about the split times just before the race again they set out far too fast. It is not possible to recover from this if you intend to break the world record”, Dieter Hogen said. “It is somehow sad. But on the other hand I am of course happy that Evans has won the race so clearly.”
“I had thought that I could at least break the course record. But the winds were too strong. Still I have won the race which makes me very happy”, he explained. Daniel Njenga (Kenya) was second with 2:07:44, while Japan’s Toshinari Takaoka took third in 2:07:50. Four time Chicago winner Khalid Khannouchi (US) had to be content with fifth place in 2:08:44.
Khannouchi, who originally comes from Morocco and had been the marathon world record holder before Paul Tergat’s Berlin performance, showed his weakest performance ever in Chicago. In an extraordinary series at the Chicago Marathon he had never finished below second plance and had never been slower than 2:07:19 before. Khannouchi has a three year contract with the Chicago Marathon. “I have given everything I could. But that was not enough today – there is nothing you can do. It was a hard race and the pacemakers were running way to fast”, Khannouchi explained. He did not follow the very fast pace throughout the race. After running at the end of the first group for a while he dropped back to the chasing group. Among these runners was Paul Koech, another athlete of Hogen’s team. But Koech suffered of knee problems during the second half and was limping when he reached the finish well behind. “Having ost the race on the last mile last year I am now very happy that there was no danger from behind”, women’s winner Constantina Tomescu-Dita said. She had reached the 20 k mark running in 1:06:54. Tomescu-Dita had taken the lead right from the start and no other woman came close to her during the race. But she also clearly slowed in the final stages of the race. Her first splits had indicated a possible time of 2:21, in the end she reached the finish line in 2.23:45.
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