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Kipchoge and Jeptoo win in Chicago

Eliud Kipchoge

CHICAGO – Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014 – The 2014 Bank of America Chicago Marathon saw a record 40,802 runners crossed the finish line in Grant Park under ideal weather conditions. The men’s race saw a Kenyan sweep with Eliud Kipchoge stealing the show in 2 hours, 4 minutes, 11 seconds, and Sammy Kitwara and Dickson Chumba dueling for second, with Kitwara out-striding Chumba.

“They say if you have a will, then you will be successful,” said Kipchoge, winning his first World Marathon Major and third marathon. “I had a will to transition to the marathon and that is why I have been able to win so well.”

In the women’s race, Rita Jeptoo (KEN) easily defended her title, breaking the tape in 2:24:35. Mare Dibaba (ETH) held on for second in 2:25:37, and current half-marathon world record holder, Florence Kiplagat (KEN), secured a podium finish in 2:25:57.

The men’s wheelchair competition featured a historic finish with the top 11 men finishing within 11 seconds of each other. Joshua George (USA) edged Kurt Fearnley (AUS) at the line by one second, 1:32:12 to 1:32:13. In the women’s race, Tatyana McFadden (USA) handily defended her title, taking home her fourth straight victory and her fifth at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, in the last six years.

“I think it went very well. We had a beautiful fall day and cool weather,” said Bank of America Chicago Marathon Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski. “The marathon became technical racing. The women were watching each other a little bit and the men had a lot of gamesmanship. You bring the best athletes together and they really help to complement each other.”

The men’s race opened with a world record chase as a pack of twelve stormed through the first mile in 4:34. The pace simmered as the wind picked up, but the group – with the exception of Wesley Korir (KEN) – remained intact through the half. Two pacers led the charge with a 1:02:11 split. Pre-race favorites Eliud Kipchoge and Kenenisa Bekele (ETH) followed the leaders in what grew into a tactical race. Kipchoge, Kitwara and Chumba stayed together until Kipchoge made his final move at mile 25. With his victory clearly sealed, Kipchoge strode down Columbus Drive with a smile.

Jeptoo was simply unbeatable over the final three miles of the course. Her victory in Chicago makes her unbeatable in the 2013-2014 World Marathon Majors series. Amy Hastings topped the American field, finishing fifth and matching her PR, 2:27:03.

American Amy Hastings led the women’s race from the gun, hitting the 5K in 17:12 and the 10K in 34:22, with defending champion Jeptoo a few steps behind. Things shifted over the next 5K with Florence Kiplagat and Rita Jeptoo taking over the lead, followed closely by Ethiopians Birhane Dibaba and Mare Dibaba. The pace remained relatively pedestrian until defending champion Jeptoo took the reins and dropped a 16:37 5K between 35K and 40K.

Joshua George, the 2006 Bank of America Chicago Marathon champion, finished ahead of the most competitive wheelchair race in Chicago history. Eleven men made the turn from Roosevelt Road onto Columbus Drive within seconds of each other. The final 300m witnessed a thrilling sprint finish with ten men chasing George. Kurt Fearnley and defending champion Ernst Van Dyk (RSA) put up a good fight, but no one could stop George today.

“It was quite a race,” said George. “It was the biggest pace I’ve ever raced with in the Chicago Marathon. Any time someone tried to move, there were a couple of guys there to respond to it.”

On the women’s wheeler side, Tatyana McFadden continues to rewrite the record books. Her decisive victory – her fourth consecutive in Chicago – marked her 11th World Marathon Majors win, and it sets her up for another grand slam attempt in New York. In 2013, McFadden became the first male or female athlete to win four World Marathon Majors in one year (she won Boston, London, Chicago and New York).

The sixth Nike Northside/Southside Challenge again featured local high school athletes competing in a cross-country race covering the final 2.62 miles of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon course. In the boys’ race, Graham Brown of Palatine High School finished first in 12:30:13. The girls’ race featured Megan Beach of Palatine High School, winning in 14:45:62. The first ever wheelchair competition saw Stella McMillan from Kennedy High School cross the line in 18:34:89.