Dickson Chumba and third place female finisher, Birhane Dibaba, move up to second place on the Abbott World Marathon Majors Leaderboard after podium finishes at the 38th annual Bank of America Chicago Marathon.
Chumba's third place finish in Tokyo in February and his win today in Chicago give him 34 points, moving him ahead of Yemane Tsegay and behind series leader, Eliud Kipchoge. Dibaba's victory in Tokyo and her third place finish today in Chicago land her in second place with 34 points behind series leader Mare Dibaba.
Without the use of pacesetters (�"rabbits") for the first time in more than two decades, the men's race moved out at a pedestrian pace with 11 men bunched into a tight pack through the first five kilometers. Shortly thereafter, Elkanah Kibet surged ahead and opened a 15 second gap on the chase pack, but the eight men behind him reeled him in by the eight-mile mark. All nine contenders hit the half in 1:05:13, well off of course or world record pace.
As a result of the conservative pace, the group remained huddled together through 30K. With strong winds coming from the southwest, the field waited for someone to make the first move. Finally, at an hour and thirty-nine minutes into the race, Dickson Chumba, Sammy Kitwara and Abera Kuma hit the gas pedal, breaking the pack with a 4:35 mile.
With Kuma falling off the back and eventually fading to seventh place, Chumba continued to push ahead, and by mile 23, he was the strong frontrunner. By mile 24, he had opened a 20 second gap on Kitwara and it was clear that Chumba would be the first person to break the tape. He earned his second AWMM career victory with a 2:09:25 finish. Kitwara finished as the runner-up for the second time in 2:09:50, and Sammy Ndungu edged Girmay Birhanu Gebru at the line to claim third in 2:10:06.
Unlike the men's race, the women's race started aggressively on sub 2:20 pace. Kayoko Fukushi arrived with a 2:20 in mind and she went after it from the gun, leading a pack of six through the 5K in 16:34. The women accelerated through mile seven, but slowed before the 15K mark as they turned into a strong headwind. Dibaba, who had the most at stake with the potential to move to the top of AWMM leaderboard, remained on the heels of Fukushi.
The same group of six hit the half way mark in 1:10:28. Although gusting winds slowed the pace, the women continued to pass each kilometer with determination and power. Two-time Berlin Marathon winner, Florence Kiplagat, and AWMM debutante, Yebrgual Melese, put some strides on the field at mile 22. Kiplagat finally pulled away from Melese around 40K.
Kiplagat held on strong to finish first in 2:23:33, moving her to fourth place on the AWMM leaderboard with 26 points. Melese earned 16 points with a second place finish, and Dibaba held off Fukushi by one second to claim third place and enough points to move her into second place on the AWMM leaderboard.
Deena Kastor, ten years after her victory in Chicago, finished in seventh place in 2:27:47, breaking the American Record, 2:28:40, set by Colleen De Reuk.