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Rutto and Zakahrova take Chicago 2003

Without the stellar field of last year [ 2002 ] assembled, nothing spectacular was expected, however the race exceeded expectations by producing a new champion in the form of Kenya’s Evans Rutto. The 2003 Champion set the fastest debut time of any marathoner, when he won in 2:05:50 and Russia’s Zakahrova grabbing a double by capturing the Chicago Women’s category after winning Boston in April.

The race was to serve as a debut for the more well known Paul Keoch of Kenya, who in the past years had served his apprenticeship to good steed by medaling over all the surfaces in road, track and Cross Country Championships.

What follows was the live report from the day ..

Let’s go to the race then….. Update 1: Twenty minutes into the Chicago Marathon, a pack of 20 has formed behind the rabbits. The leaders–headed by Thys of South Africa–went through 5-K in 14:56 (an approximate (2:05:50 pace). The lead women are Constantina Dita of Romania and Anastasia Ndereba (Catherine’s sister) who went through 5-K in 16:30 (2:22 pace).

The men went through 4 miles in 19:12, led by Thys (a rabbit) with a huge pack of front runners.

Update 2: As the field heads north, the rabbits have taken the lead men through 5 miles in 24:00. There is a group of rabbits at the front, but the lead men include Jimmy Muindi, Mark Steinle, Haron Toroitich and Josephat Kiprono. At 6 miles, they go through in 28:51. There is no report yet on the top American men.

The women went through 5 miles in 27:20, headed by Dita. She has a gap of approximately 50 meters on Ndereba,, Madina Biktagirova, Jelena Prokopcuka and Madai Perez-Carillo.

Update 3: The lead women have picked up the pace as they went through 10-K in 32:28 (slightly under 2:22 pace). Dita continues to lead but she’s closely followed by a big group of contenders that now includes Lidia Simon.

The top men went through 10-K in 29:54 and 7 miles in 33:49, headed by Thys. But Thys–one of the rabbits–appears antsy and is continually looking back at the front runners who don’t appear to be willing to run the agreed upon 2:04 pace. Thys is supposed to lead through halfway in 1:02:40-1:02:50 but it appears that it will be slower than that.

Update 4: In the men’s lead pack. El Mouaziz of Morocoo and Kenyans Njenga, Kimondui, Kiprono, Giuthuka, Muindi and the lone non-African–Mark Steinle of Great Britain. Thys has towed the pack through 8 miles in 38:44–off the anticipated pace. They through 9 in 43:40 into a headwind. IIt’s apparent that neither the men or women are likely to approach any world or course records today.

The women went through 8 miles in 43:46 (a 2:23:30 pace). The top women include Prokopcuka, Ivanova, Sobanska and Perez of Mexico.

Update 5: At 10 miles, reached in 48:28, the lead men now include Paul Koech and Peter Chebet of Kenya. The pace is fluctuatiing as the leaders encounter some headwinds. The 11-mile split is 53:15.

The lead woman remains Dita who went through 9 miles in 49 minutes. At 10 miles, her split is 54:23. She has a 71-second lead on Simon and Biktagivoriva.

Update 6: Thys and Ramaala–the South African pacers–have gone through 12 miles in 58:01 but they are at least 75 meters ahead of the lead pack and aren’t helping at all. It is possible that they could continue on past halfway. A rabbit–Ben Kimondui–won Chicago three years ago–it could happen again.

The women have passed through 11 miles ion 59:44 (a 2:22 pace) and Dita is surrounded by a group of solid men who are helping her with the pace.

Update 7: At halfway–reached in 1:03:32–,Thys has about a 30-second lead. But Thys who is only supposed to halfway, doesn’t appear to be slowing down.

Dita remains in the lead, going through 20-K in 1:07:35.

Update 8: Thys has slowed and the front runners have gobbled up his lead. Thys is still leading as he passes through 15 miles in 1:12:44 (2:07 pace). There are about 10 men in the lead pack, including Ruta, Njenga, Kimopndui and Koech. The pace has quickened. AT 16 miles, they went through in 1:17:19.

Tomescu-Dita still maintains a healthy lead of over a minute. She went through halfway in 1:11:18 but the other top women are more than a minute back.

Update 9: Tomescu-Dita has an 85-second gap at 15 miles, reached in 1:21:59. Dita who has a history of fading in the final miles hasn’t been challenged yet. The second group includes Inanova in second, Zakaharova in third and Prokopcuka.

The men’s pack is about a 10-deep. Thys is still leading but just by a stride or two. The leaders have gone through 17 miles in 1:22:06. The pace has varied as the wind has apparently picked up.

Update 10: Zakharova is on the move. She has picked up the pace and closed the gap on Dita to about a minute. Dita appears to be labopring slightly, while the Russian has clearly accelerated. Colleen DeReuck is about 3 1/2 minutes back of the leaders.

The men have gone through 30-K in 1:29:57. The leader is now Evans Rutto of Kenya who has a small lead.

Update 11: The men’s race is now down to a pack of six or seven, including Rutto, Ngoloepus, Koech, Njenga, Chebet and Toroitich–all of Kenya. Rutto has a short lead as they pass through 19 miles in 1:31:38. At 20 miles, they go through 1:36:22 (a 2:06 pace). If the worst of the wind is over, Khannouchi’s coourse record of 2:05:42 could be threatened.

Rutto has widened his lead past 20 miles to aboujt 7 seconds as he makes his move.

Dita’s lead at 18 miles (1:37:54) has diminished to about 40 seconds over Ivanova, Prokopchuka and Zakharova. Ivanova appears to be forcing the pace as Dita continues to fade.

Update 12: Rutto continues to extend his lead. At 21 miles (1:40:5), his lead is about 15 seconds. He is accelerating and running smoothly as he powers toward the lakefront.

Dita’s lead at 19 miles (1:43:20) is down to25 seconds. Ivanova and Zakharova continue to cut into Dita’s lead which is down to less than 20 seconds.

Update 13: Dita’s and lead is now down to 17 seconds at 20 miles (1:48:45) but Ivanova continues to cut her into lead. Dita appears to be laboring, but Ivanova is smooth and confident.

Rutto, meanwhile, has passed 23 miles in 1:50:25 and has a 26-second gap on the chase pack. He is looking good and appears that he will be close to Khannouchi’s course record if he doesn’t falter in the final 5-K.

Update 14: At 21 miles, Ivanova is closing. Dita reached 21 miles in 1:54:09 with Ivanova just 9 seconds. Ivanova is passing Dita before 22 miles. As Ivanova takes the lead, Dita slows even more and doesn’t appear that she will be able to come back on the Russian.

Rutto at 24 miles (1:55:04)is under Khannouchi’s course record now. Khalid’s course record of 2:05:42) is under serious jeopardy

Update 15: Rutto speeds through 25 miles in 1:59:54 and appears to have the race in hand.

Zakahrova 2003 Winner Chicago and BostonZakahrova 2003 Winner Chicago and BostonDita has come back after being passed at 22 miles (1:59:28) by Ivanova. Ivanova appears to have pushed too hard to make the pass. But Dita has now opened up a 10-meter lead on Ivanova.

Update 16: Rutto wins in 2:05:49–the fastest marathon debut in world history

Update 17: Kenyans go 1, 2, 3. American Meb Keflezighi is approaching the finish line and should finish in 2:09-2:10.

Update 18: Kelflezighi finishes in under 2:10 (no official time yet).

Dita’s lead is crumbling again. Zakahrova is closing at 24 miles (2:10:49 miles, Dita’s lead is now dowqn to 8 seconds.

Update 19: Americna Todd Reeser has finished in 2:13-something.

Dita and Zakharova are within a few strides of each other with about 7-8 minutes of running left. Zakharova makes the pass just before 25 miles and quickly opens up a gap. Jenny Spangler appears to be on 2:31 pace.

Update 20: The unoffical finish is Rutto, Koech and Njenga. Kelfeizghi’s time is 2:10:06–well clear of the Olympic “A” standard.

In the final mile,Zakahrova has opened up a decisive lead. opver Dita. Jenny Spangler may threaten the American women’s masters record if she can maintain her pace.

Zakharova has won the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon in 2:23:07. She won the Boston Marathon in April.

Update 21: In the unofficial men’s results: Rutto wins in 2:05:50 with Koech second in 2:07:07,l Njenga third in 2:07:41, Chebet in 2:07:43, Miundi in fifth in 2:08:57, El mouaziz is sixth in 2;09:38 and Meb Keflezighi is the top American in seven th in 2:10:03.

Thank you to Chicago Marathon for the report

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