Chepngetich suffers for Chicago title
Ruth Chepngetich scored a hard-earned victory at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon as she fended off the heat to outlast her American rivals.
The reigning world champion ran the first stanza of the race as though she had been fired out of a cannon, swiftly catching American male athlete Chris Derrick as she blasted her way to a time at halfway of 1:07:34.
It was a pace she paid for in the latter stages as her lead, at one point more than three minutes, shrank to 1:49 by the time runner-up Emma Bates crossed the line.
Bates upset the pre-race predictions of a new American record for her compatriot Sara Hall, the runner up in London in 2020, who had to settle for third on a day when the conditions were never going to place Deena Kastor’s 2006 time in danger.
For Chepngetich, who also set a new half-marathon world record earlier this year, it was redemption of sorts following a disappointing DNF in the Olympics.
“To push alone is not easy,” she said. “I was not leading to be faster like that. I just focused and I lead for myself.”
In fact, her second 13.1 miles was over 13 minutes slower than her first, but it was enough to keep the hard-charging Bates at bay.
“I started seeing women ahead of me and that just spurred me along so much,” said Bates.
“Maybe just like that boost of energy - and, also, just all the spectators. Having all those people lining the streets again, just really gave me all the energy to be able to press on and really pick up my legs faster and faster.”
For Hall, her record ambitions will live to fight another day after finding the going tough in the latter part of her race.
“I thought that there was a chance they would go out really hard but I was hoping, similar to the London Marathon, they would come back, but Ruth - that was a really impressive run for her.
"I was hoping to maybe place a little higher but I'm really proud to get back on the podium in my next Abbott World Marathon Major so I'm thankful for that.”