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Limo and Kastor win at Chicago Marathon 2005

Kastor Suffers to Beat Tomescu-Dita at LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon … Limo Leads Top 10 Kenyan Sweep in Men’s Race
By Charlie Mahler, Running USA wire

CHICAGO – (October 9, 2005) – 2004 Olympic Marathon bronze medalist and U.S. record holder Deena Kastor of Mammoth Lakes, Calif. won the first marathon of her storied career with an anxious five second victory over Romanian Constantina Tomescu-Dita at the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon on Sunday morning. Kastor, clear of Tomescu-Dita by forty seconds at 35K and on pace for a sub-2:19 performance, struggled in the final four miles to clock 2 hours, 21 minutes, 25 seconds to the strong-finishing Tomescu-Dita’s 2:21:30, a national record.

In a Kenyan sweep of the top 10 men’s places, 2004 Rotterdam Marathon and Berlin Marathon winner Felix Limo broke away from Ben Maiyo and Daniel Njenga after the 40 kilometer mark to win in 2:07:02, the fastest time of the year and his third major marathon win (also Berlin and Rotterdam 2004). Maiyo clocked 2:07:09; Njenga, a two-time runner-up here, crossed the line in 2:07:14. Two-time defending Chicago champ Evans Rutto finished fourth in 2:07:28.

Kastor and Limo earned $165,000 and $155,000 respectively for their efforts, including prize and incentive money.

Kastor, 32, entered the event pointing for her first marathon victory and with sights set on joining the women’s exclusive sub-2:20 club. The Team Running USA athlete, who set the U.S. half-marathon record in the lead-up to Chicago with her 1:07:53 at the Philadelphia Distance Run, planned an aggressive attack, asking pace-setters to lead her through the half-marathon under 1:09:00.

Out on the Chicago streets, with cloudy, 50 degree and breezy weather and tucked in among a posse of escorts and pacesetters, Kastor clipped through 10K in 32:40 – a 2:17:59 pace – and the half-way mark in 1:09:16. Tomescu-Dita, who won the world half-marathon title only last Saturday in Edmonton, tracked Kastor’s pace through 20 miles until Kastor pulled away. Kastor looked invincible from then until mile 22 when her stride stiffened, her mile pace dropped from 5:20s to 5:50s to six minutes-plus and Tomescu-Dita’s came roaring back into the picture.

“I suffered greatly in the last 5K, but was able to make the finish line. I’m only now starting to feel ‘Okay,'” Kastor said more than an hour after finishing. “At 20 miles I thought, I’m starting to feel it, starting to feel the pavement a little bit, the bottoms of my feet were getting a little tender. With four miles to go, I thought this was really going to be a long four miles. It was really the last three miles that were the ugliest, and I really, really felt awful.”

“For a 6:15 to feel that bad, the marathon is the only thing in the world that can do that to somebody,” added the Arkansas grad.

During the final push, designated pacesetter Clint Verran appeared to tread the line between legal and illegal pacing – leading Kastor, encouraging her and, it appeared, providing information about how close Tomescu-Dita was getting. At press time, however, it appeared Tomescu-Dita would not protest the results.

While winning the race was goal #1 for Kastor, her reaction to being the first U.S. woman to win a major world marathon – since Kristy Johnston won here in 1994 – was mixed.

“It was bittersweet,” she offered. “I was hoping to run a lot faster today. But, my number one priority coming into the race was to try to win, and I also wanted to run an aggressive race to run a fast time. It almost cost me the win there in the end running with such aggressive tactics.”

Japan’s Masako Chiba, who went out with Kastor and Tomescu-Dita in the early-going, ran a lonely, solo race to finish third in 2:26:00.

Kastor was the vanguard of the most impressive overall USA finish in a major marathon in recent memory. Colleen De Reuck, 41, established a new U.S. masters marathon record with her 2:28:40, which shattered 1996 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials champion Jenny Spangler’s mark of 2:32:39 set here in 2003, and Blake Russell of the Big Sur Distance Project finished sixth in a personal record 2:29:10.

“I knew I could definitely run a 2:28 and then in the back of my mind I was trying to go for 2:26:51, Priscilla’s [World Masters] record. I gave it a shot, you know,” the South African native and Boulder resident said. “It never gets easier. I’m really quite shocked that I came fourth.”

The USA men didn’t prove as successful as the American women. Two-time Olympian Alan Culpepper led the American effort in 12th place (2:12:44). Matt Lane ran a 2:17:32 debut for 14th and Josh Eberly was 15th in 2:19:29.

For men’s winner Limo, close observation of his rivals was a key to the win.

“I’d go closer to everybody to look at their faces,” Limo explained. “I was worried about Njenga, because all the time he was behind, so I was afraid of him. And when I saw his face, he was strong.”

The leaders, led by an unfolding and seemingly limitless cast of pacesetters, reached the half-way point at 1:03:21. A group of nine runners – Limo, Maiyo, Njenga, Rutto, Patrick Ivuti, Laban Kipkemboi, William Kipsang, Timothy Cherigat and Sammy Korir – reached 20 miles at 1:36:55, but quickly thereafter the distance and the pace took its full measure.

By 35K, the pack comprised only the leader Maiyo, Limo, Njenga, Ivuti and Rutto. At 40K, Ivuti was falling off the back and Rutto was lagging the rear of the lead group. Shortly thereafter, Rutto dropped off and then Limo made the move that obliterated the pack completely – Njenga let go, followed by Maiyo. Limo was on his way to victory.

“At 41 [kilometers] I realized this is my game, I am going to win,” the 25-year-old Kenyan said.

28th LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon
Chicago, IL, Sunday, October 9, 2005

1) Felix Limo, Kenya, 2:07:02, $155,000
2) Ben Maiyo, Kenya, 2:07:09, $95,000
3) Daniel Njenga, Kenya, 2:07:14, $70,000
4) Evans Rutto, Kenya, 2:07:28, $55,000
5) Patrick Ivuti, Kenya, 2:07:46, $30,000
6) Laban Kipkemboi, Kenya, 2:09:22, $7500
7) William Kipsang, Kenya, 2:09:49, $7500
8) Timothy Cherigat, Kenya, 2:10:34, $5500
9) Sammy Korir, Kenya, 2:10:53, $5500
10) John Gwako, Kenya, 2:12:30
12) Alan Culpepper, USA/CO, 2:12:44, $10,000
14) Matt Lane, USA/NY, 2:17:32, $9000
15) Josh Eberly, USA/MI, 2:19:29, $8000

MASTERS Men (40+)
1) Luca Foglia, 43, Italy, 2:31:27, $2500
2) Dominique Chauvelier, 49, France, 2:34:17, $2000

1) Deena Kastor, USA/CA, 2:21:25, $165,000
2) Constantina Tomescu-Dita, Romania, 2:21:30, $95,000
3) Masako Chiba, Japan, 2:26:00, $45,500
4) Colleen De Reuck, 41, USA/CO, 2:28:40*, $36,500
5) Eri Hayakawa, Japan, 2:28:50, $15,000
6) Blake Russell, USA/CA, 2:29:10, $8000
7) Kathy Butler, GBR, 2:30:01
8) Tatiana Petrova, Russia, 2:31:03
9) Kate Smith, Australia, 2:33:42
10) Grazyna Syrek, Poland, 2:36:32
*pending U.S. masters record (previous record, 2:32:39, Jenny Spangler, LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon, October 12, 2003)

MASTERS Women (40+)
1) De Reuck, see above
2) Simonetta Piergentili, 41, Italy, 2:49:06, $2000

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