Running Headquarters  Global Running News
Injuries and Treatment  Injuries
Nutrition Information  Nutrition
Running Training Information  Training
Running Information Forums  Forums

   Running Information      USA Running      Running South Africa      Running New Zealand      Running UK      Running Ireland      Running Ireland      Español Consecutivo      Deutsch Laufzeit      Copenhagen Marathon      Suomen Juoksu      Sverige Löpning      Tel Aviv Marathon      Running Australia      Running Kenya      Running Europe      Running Malta      Running Namibia

Report 2002 – Chicago Marathon in America

On a cool Sunday morning, the world’s best runners came to Chicago to test their ability against 42 kilometers, the wind that rose for the occasion and their fellow competitors.

And they did not fail in their delivery, of yet again a host of spectacular performances. With Paula Radcliffe’s ‘new’ World Record of 2Hr 17min 18 seconds, topping the billing. However, the equally brilliant display of Khalid Khannouchi should not go unrecognised, as he became the first athlete to have run 3 sub 2Hr 06min marathons, in history.

Let’s go to the race then….. The field lined up with anticipation and an expectancy present, the Chicago Marathon organisers had assembled a field with the world’s fastest runners over the distance present. And with the wind hopefully playing its part the scene was set for an event of ‘enthralling’ action.

Paula Radcliffe Chicago 2002Khannouchi was out of the stalls early and was tucked in directly behind the pacesetters, a somewhat surprising move from a man renowned for waiting in the pack for the opportune moment. With the impetus provided by the Moroccan born , American citizen, the field went through the mile 1 and 2 in 4:49 and 4:43 respectively.

Normal service is resumed, and by 5km, a huge pack of 30 is being towed along by the athletes whose title is that of ‘pacesetter’. Lest us not forget last year, when the designated pacesetter, Ben Kimondiu [Kenya], didn’t stop and went on to record a surprise victory…

5Km is reached in 14:23 Silvio Guerra, Gert Thys [South Africa – 2:06.33 PB], John Kagwe [Kenya – 2:08:12 PB], Ian Syster [South Africa – 2:07.06 PB] and Paul Tergat [Kenya – 2:05:48 PB], at the fore.

On the women’s side, they pass through 5k, in 16:26 to 16:29 covering the leading contenders consisting of Catherine Ndereba [Kenya] , Radcliffe [Britain], Yoko Shibui and Masako Chiba [Japan] with Deena Drossin the leading American just off the pace with 16:52.

Travelling through 10Km, the 5Km lead pack has been split into 2 groups with the main contenders passing in 29.38 [22 sec ahead of WR] the American, Alan Culpepper making his debut, is in the 2nd group 30secs back.

The main pack is lead by Tergat with Kagwe, Daniel Njegna, Khannouchi, Driss El Himer [Fra – 2:07:02 PB], Abdelkader El Mouaziz [Morocco – 2:06:52 PB] and Tobias Hiskia [Namibia – 2:23:29 PB] present.

15K comes and goes, with the lead pack going through in 44:20. By 16Km, the 6ft 1 figure of Toshinari Takaoka [Japan – 2:09:41], is amongst the leaders, having steadily worked his way to to the pack.

Back to the women
Radcliffe - early intentionsRadcliffe takes up the race for the course record early [which will inturn be a new WR], providing a punishing pace that sees her charge through 10K in 32:47 (6 sec below target). Catherine Ndereba at 32:49, Masako Chiba at 32:50, and Deena Drossin at 32:55 are all in close contention and within striking distance should the Brit falter.

Radcliffe shows no sign of slowing and continues to apply the pressure, with her main focus squarely set on the WR, the halfway stage [21.1Km] passes in 69:01. Ndereba, the current WR holder, is still in contention and seems to be content running off the pace of the British athlete. [Maybe, a wise move considering Radcliffe is known to respond well to pressure] Japanese athlete, Yoko Shibui, goes through 21Km in 69:17 and is also close enough to be a danger.

The Men pass the half-marathon point in 62mins and 30 secs, almost 40secs under WR pace.

Approaching 30Km’s and what is left of the lead pack is still on target for a WR. Not long before the 27K, the tall Japanese athlete, threw down the gauntlet and produced a 4:41 mile split. This ‘brashness’ has ‘set him free’ from the pack and it has also placed his tall figure at the mercy of the expectant winds that are expected to ‘buffet’ the runners over the last number of miles. Certainly a brave move for the athlete who is on target to record close to a 4min improvement of his PB [personal best].

30K split: Takaoka, 1:28:5; Ben Kimondiu, 1:29; El Mouaziz, 1:29:02; Tergat, 1:29:03; Gert Thys, Khannouchi, Kagwe and Njenga were at 1:29:04.

Takaoka continues to build on his lead and has ‘built-up’ a cushion of 20 sec. Dangerous to say the least with a 13:13 PB for 5K, his speed is not in question, however whether he can maintain the pace which will tap on his strength and endurance as he approaches the finish, only time can tell.

The leading woman passes through 30K in 1:37.40 with Ndereba 16sec back, followed by Shibui in 1:39.03. Radcliffe moves further ahead and by mile 20 [roughly 32K] in 1:44, she is now 24 seconds clear of Ndereba, and is on target for a new WR. Over the next mile Radcliffe increases her lead to 32 sec, another exhibition of power running by the Brit, with the recognisable ‘bobbing’ head.

Stalking TakaokaThe Men’s race has developed into a wait and see. Should Khannouchi ‘wait‘ any longer before making his charge or will we ‘see‘ the ‘lanky’ Takaoka, the man from the ‘land of the rising sun’, hang onto his lead. The tall athlete running his 2nd marathon has lead from 30 to 35K, the traditional mark where the distance starts ‘preying’ on the athlete, as well as a marker where many a fine athlete has gone on to victory. 35K in 1:45.45

The lead is not telling, and is now about a 60m gap from the chasing pack, however if he accelerates will the rest be able to respond. To give an athlete too much ‘leeway’ this late in the race could be dangerous, however Khannouchi is known for his strength over the last 3 miles [about 5K] and is watching proceedings with keen interest.

Toshinari Takaoka passes through mile 24 mile in 1:54.52.

The field is running directly into a head-wind, which is reportedly hampering the athletes. Takaoka’s greatest fear is being realised, Khannouchi emerges from the pack and begins his attack on the leading athlete. The WR holder has left it late, however his surge is powerful and looking back on previous occasions, his closing speed over the latter parts of the marathon have ‘reaped rewards’. Khannouchi applies the pressure and amazingly takes less than 4 minutes from the time he left the chasing pack to the time he caught the lone Japanese athlete.

By 40K in 1:59.14, Khannouchi has opened a 2 sec gap and looks to be moving away with relative ease. Njenga, Tergat and El Mouzziz pass through in 1:59.25-29

Khannouchi - No1 no doubtThere is no looking back now, this will be win number 4 at Chicago and yet another ‘masterful’ display of a marathon runner doing what they do best ‘mastering their trade’.

Khannouchi finishes in 2:05.56 with Takoaka being caught on the line by Njenga. Both are given the time of 2:06:16. Tergat rounds off another good performance in 4th with 2:06:18, the first time he has finished out the Top 2 in a marathon. El Mouaziz fades to 5th in 2:06:46

For ‘homegrown’ American hopes, Alan Culpepper debuts with 2:09:41 in 6th spot.

Returning to Radcliffe
The ‘true blue’ Brit is on target for her ‘Mission Complete’, she is ahead of WR pace by over a minute and is putting further ‘daylight’ between her and Ndereba, who under the conditions is not having a bad run, the difference is despite the conditions Radcliffe is having a ‘sensational’ run.

At 35k in 1:53.45, Radcliffe has increased her lead to 45 sec over Ndereba. On target for a sub 2Hr 18min clocking. Phenomenal considering the conditions.

Mile 23 passes in 2:00.27, the gap is now 66 sec. [Incredibly, this is after a period of time where Radcliffe was suffering from ‘the call of the loo’, yet she still manages to pull away from the rest of the field]

Radcliffe’s year of an ‘Indian Summer’ looks complete as she charges to the finish line, setting a new WR of 2:17.18. Just rewards to an athlete who too often in the past has been the ‘bridesmaid’, she has found her distance and looks to have ‘mastered’ it. What next Paula, what next?

Ndereba finishes 2nd in 2:19.26, a creditable performance with Yoko Shibui 3rd in 2:21.22 and Svetlana Zakharova 4th 2:21.31. First American is Deena Drossin in a new PB of 2:26.53.

What a great Chicago Marathon despite the weather, well this city is known as ‘The Windy City’ afterall. And after these performances can also be known as ‘The City of Speedy Marathoners’.

Speak Your Mind