Sunday, October 10, 2010

Chicago Marathon 2010: Tsegaye Kebede vs. Sammy Wanjiru

Sammy Wanjiru
While Sammy Wanjiru of Kenya and Liliya Shobukhova of Russia were repeat winners in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, and two runners from Michigan topped the Americans who ran the race, the best news is there were no mishaps like the ones that damaged the image of the 2009 Chicago Marathon.  But the talk was about the battle between Sammy Wanjiru and Tsegaye Kebede.

That event was held in record temperatures for the marathon. It was 89 degrees and 90 percent humidity, leading to a number of runners not finishing or in the case of a 35-year old man with a heart disorder, passing away after collapsing.

This year, the temperature was a much cooler but still warm 68 degrees. Sammy Wanjiru said it was his favorite weather. According to Running Competitor, Wanjiru beat Tsegaye Kebede from Ethiopia, but it wasn't easy. Kebede would take the lead, only to have Sammy come back and catch him. Later, Kebede would observe "He get recovery he come again" in talking about running against Sammy Wanjiru. Wanjiru would post a time of 2 hours, 6 minutes, 24 seconds, 19 seconds faster than Kebede.

Having personally observed Wanjiru at the 2009 Bay To Breakers, Kebede's right.  This blogger has never seen anyone run so fast for such a long stretch of distance, as Wanjiru did over the last mile of the 2009 Bay To Breakers.  When the temperature cooled as the runners approached the ocean, Sammy kicked it into another gear.

Wanjiru, truly an amazing runner, has a technique he says he developed at the Beijing Olympics. It's a series of surges after rest periods along a run. Apparently it worked. Wanjiru set an Olympic record of 2:06:32.

Chicago Marathon Won By Sammy Wanjiru For Third Straight Time

Sammy Wanjiru, the winner of this year's San Francisco Bay To Breakers for the second straight year, just won today's Chicago Marathon for the third straight year as well.

In the 2010 Chicago Marathon, Wanjiru was in a battle with Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia.   Read more about it here.

In 2009 Sammy set a course record.

Here's the account of the 2009 run according to Chicago Marathon Blog:

CHICAGO — Sammy Wanjiru of Kenya won today the Chicago Marathon with the fastest time on American soil, finishing in 2 hours 5 minutes, 41 seconds.

Sammy Wanjiru set both American and course records but missed the world mark in the 2009 Chicago Marathon. On a chilly fall morning – 33 degrees at the start – the Olympic gold medalist in Beijing pushed the pace impatiently and won the race.

With temperatures hovering just below the freezing mark, Wanjiru turned in the best time in the U.S. and beat by one second the mark of 2:05:42 set by Khalid Khannouchi in Chicago in 1999.

He got US$75,000 for winning and $100,000 for the course record.

In the final agonizing feet before he hit the tape, Wanjiru nearly missed that record and a lucrative payday by waiving his arms in premature celebration. He nearly made a mistake in waiving both arms too quickly, but recovered just in time.

The world record of 2:03:59 is set by Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie in Berlin on Sept. 28, 2008.

Abderrahim Goumri of Morocco made a late push to finish second in 2:06:04, with Kenya’s Vincent Kipruto in third (2:06:08).

On the women’s side, Russian Liliya Shobukhova won a much-slower paced race in 2:25:56.

American Amanda McGrory set the course record by more than 4 minutes in winning the women’s wheelchair race in 1:39:46.
Australian Kurt Fearnley made it a three-peat on the men’s wheelchair race in 1:29:09.

List of Chicago Marathon female winners
1977: Dorothy Doolittle, United States
1978: Lynae Larson, United States
1979: Laura Michalek, United States
1980: Sue Peterson, United States
1981: Tina Gandy, United States
1982: Nancy Conz, United States
1983: Rosa Mota, Portugal
1984: Rosa Mota, Portugal
1985: Joan Benoit Samuelson, United States
1986: Ingrid Kristiansen, Norway
1988: Lisa Weidenbach, United States
1989: Lisa Weidenbach, United States
1990: Aurora Cunha, Portugal
1991: Midde Hamrin, Sweden
1992: Linda Somers, United States
1993: Ritva Lemettinen, Finland
1994: Kristy Johnston, United States
1995: Ritva Lemettinen, Finland
1996: Marian Sutton, United Kingdom
1997: Marian Sutton, United Kingdom
1998: Joyce Chepchumba, Kenya
1999: Joyce Chepchumba, Kenya
2000: Catherine Ndereba, Kenya
2001: Catherine Ndereba, Kenya
2002: Paula Radcliffe, United Kingdom
2003: Svetlana Zakharova, Russia
2004: Constantina Diţă-Tomescu, Romania
2005: Deena Kastor, United States
2006: Berhane Adere, Ethiopia
2007: Berhane Adere, Ethiopia
2008: Lidiya Grigoryeva, Russia
2009: Lidiya Grigoryeva, Russia
2010: Lidiya Grigoryeva, Russia

Sammy Wanjiru - more than Kenya itself, which is what Americans talk about when the conversation of long distance running comes up - has come to dominate the sport.