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Evans Rutto takes title in 2:06:16

Kenyan Evans Rutto won his 2nd Chicago marathon and his 3rd marathon from as many starts. This win moves him to the ranks of being the world’s most dominant marathoner at present. 2nd was Daniel Njenga in 2:07:42 with Japan’s Toshinari Takaoka 3rd in 2:07:49. All suffered after the first half in 1:02:24. . Khalid Khannouchi with 2:08:42, could only manage 5th.

Evans Rutto Chicago 2004

Evans Rutto Chicago 2004

Constantina Tomescu Dita of Romania wins the Women’s section in 2:23:45, after holding a 2:21 pace for a large portion of the race. This is Dita’s first major win after a string of seconds. Olaru runs a PR to finish second in 2:24:32. Zakharova finishes in 2:25:01.

Rutto Extends Perfect Record at Chicago – Tomescu-Dita Finally Wins From the Front
By Charlie Mahler, Running USA wire

CHICAGO, Ill. – (October 10, 2004) – Evans Rutto extended his perfect record in the marathon with a comfortable 2:06:16 victory at the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon. The 26-year-old Kenyan obliterated a lead pack of six runners with a 4:39 20th mile and held his form in the windy final miles, to go three-for-three at the very top of global marathoning.

Four-time Chicago Marathon champion and American record-holder Khalid Khannouchi finished fifth in 2:08:44.

In women’s competition, Romanian Constantina Tomescu-Dita finally saw her aggressive front-running style pay off winningly with a wire-to-wire victory, despite fighting illness all week. The 34-year-old Tomsescu-Dita, who earned a bronze medal at the World Half-Marathon Championship in New Delhi, India only last weekend, clocked 2:23:45, just ten seconds off her personal record.

Countrywoman Nuta Olaru was second in 2:24:33. Defending champion Svetlana Zakharova finished third in 2:25:01. The top three women, surprisingly, all competed in the rugged Athens Olympic Marathon just seven weeks ago.

Rutto, who won the men’s race here last year in 2:05:50 in a marathon debut record and also prevailed in London last spring in 2:06:18, appeared the most comfortable runner in the lead pack, which passed the half-marathon in an eye-popping 1:02:24. After the last of the pacesetters – all members of his own training group – stepped off the course at 30K, the smooth-striding Rutto attacked the leaders and immediately put himself clear. Although fatigue, warmer than usual weather (55 degrees at the start), and gusty winds caused him to slow from course record pace in the final 10K, he was never challenged.

“After mile 20, I started to pick up the pace,” said Rutto who ran the second fastest time of the year so far. “The wind was very strong the last miles. Because of the wind, I knew I wouldn’t break the course record. It was very, very strong, pushing me back.”

Countryman Daniel Njenga finished second in 2:07:44 and Japan’s Toshinari Takaoka was third in 2:07:50, reprising their close 2-3 finish at Chicago in 2002.

Former World record-holder Khannouchi, who recently signed a lucrative four-year participation deal with the Chicago Marathon, positioned himself in the second pack through the first half of the race, passing the half-way line at 1:02:42. By 15 miles he had soloed his way to within ten seconds of the lead back, but then lost steam. He moved into the top five only after Rutto’s move – and the early hard running – sent the pretenders in the lead pack back through the field.

“No excuses,” Khannouchi said, “You’ve got to give the credit to Evans Rutto. I had confidence in myself that they’ve got to slow down, but, me too, I had to slow down. The first 10K was 29:10 or 29:05, I think that’s not a pace to run a marathon; that’s not a pace to run a world record.”

Though not running at Paula Radcliffe’s world record pace, Tomsecu-Dita thumbed her nose, as she has throughout her marathoning career, at the notion that marathon front-runners never win. Paying little heed to the marathon gods and her recuperating health – she had fought a cold and fever since last Tuesday – the tall Romanian built up a lead of over a minute at the halfway mark over the pack of pursuers.

Tomsecu-Dita said afterward her husband and coach Valeriu told her to take a wait-see attitude to the race.

“You can see what you feel to 10K and if you feel better you can go faster,” she said of his advice. “A lot of people they tell me you don’t need to go so fast in the first half. I try to go fast to run under the Romanian record. It was very hard for me because the wind was in the front. The wind was a little strong.”

Top U.S. finisher Marla Runyan, seventh in 2:28:33, was happy with her performance.

“I came here with a goal of 2:26 so that really means I wanted to run 2:25,” the two-time Olympian on the track admitted.

“The training was only half of what it could have been,” she said, referring to the six short weeks she had between returning from the Athens Games and Chicago.

While Runyan hoped a sub-2:25 performance might make it clear to her that the marathon, rather than the track, is where her competitive future lies, she offered that today’s performance would probably keep her marathon focus.

“If I’d have run a little faster it would have been easier to say ‘Yeah this is that I want to focus on,’ she said of the marathon. “I enjoy the training for it and the race itself. I do think 2:23, 2:24 is in me.”

Runyan ran through 13.1 miles with 2004 Olympic Trials fourth place finisher Blake Russell. U.S. Mastesr record-holder Jenny Spangler, the 1996 Olympic Trials Champion, followed the pair by 15 seconds at halfway (1:13:48).

Russell couldn’t keep Runyan’s pace and finished 9th overall in 2:32:04, the second American. Spangler, 41, crossed the finish line 10th overall (third U.S.) in 2:33:36, within a minute of her record-breaking time last year.

On a beautiful fall day in Chicago, 33,194 runners started the race.

27th LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon
Chicago, IL, Sunday, October 10, 2004

1) Evans Rutto (KEN), 2:06:16, $180,000
2) Daniel Njenga (KEN), 2:07:44, $80,000
3) Toshinari Takaoka (JPN), 2:07:50, $55,000
4) Jimmy Muindi (KEN), 2:08:27, $35,000
5) Khalid Khannouchi (USA/NY), 2:08:44, $35,000
6) Marilson Dos Santos (BRA), 2:08:48, $10,000
7) Stephen Kiogora (KEN), 2:09:21, $7,500
8) Scott Westcott (AUS), 2:13:08
9) Ben Maiyo (KEN), 2:13:17
10) Paul Koech (KEN), 2:13:20
11) Brian Sell (USA/MI), 2:13:22, $9,000
12) Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot (KEN), 2:14:23
13) Martin Dent (AUS), 2:15:35
14) Wilson Chepkwony (KEN), 2:16:09
15) Clint Verran (USA/MI), 2:17:28, $8,000
16) James Koskei (KEN), 2:18:40
17) Luke Humphrey (USA/MI), 2:18:49, $7,000

1) Craig Fram, 46, (USA/NH), 2:29:36, $2,500

1) Constantina Tomescu-Dita (ROM), 2:23:45, $135,000
2) Nuta Olaru (ROM), 2:24:33, $72,500
3) Svetlana Zakharova (RUS), 2:25:01, $47,500
4) Joyce Chepchumba (KEN), 2:26:21, $30,500
5) Albina Ivanova (RUS), 2:28:22, $15,000
6) Shataye Gemechu (ETH), 2:28:28
7) Marla Runyan (USA/OR), 2:28:33, $10,000
8) Derartu Tulu (ETH), 2:30:21
9) Blake Russell (USA/CA), 2:32:04, $9,000
10) Jenny Spangler, 41, (USA/IL), 2:33:36, $12,000
11) Malgorzata Sobanska (POL), 2:35:24
12) Nicole Stevenson (CAN), 2:39:12
13) Yasuko Hashimoto (JPN), 2:40:34
14) Willetta Page (USA/CA), 2:45:20, $7,000
15) Rachel Moritz (USA/CA), 2:46:43, $6,000

1) Spangler (see above)

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