Tura takes Chicago crown

Seifu Tura turned back the challenge of Galen Rupp to win the 2021 Bank of America Chicago Marathon on a sticky Sunday in the Windy City.

Tura, the champion in Milan earlier this year in a personal best just outside 2:04, had the pedigree to take down the assembled field, but his best here previously had been sixth place in 2019.

An early burst by his fellow Ethiopian Shifera Tamru put 15 seconds between the leader and the following pack, but his early exuberance was doused by the time they reached the halfway point in 62:29.

Rupp had been keeping his own counsel behind the first half shenanigans and was able to wipe out the 11-second deficit he had allowed to appear, and was sitting comfortably in the bunch as they entered the final 10km.

Japan’s Kengo Suzuki was the first to blink, departing the leaders at 35km, and it left Tura, Rupp and Kenya’s Eric Kiptanui to battle for the order on the podium.

Tura’s decisive strike came in the final mile with Rupp unable to reply.

“I just was determined to fight 'til the very end to domy best,” said the new champion. “The weather was a little bit erratic. I was extremely concerned when they said the other day that it was going to be very hot, because I did not prepare for warm weather, but there was a breeze, and the first half was not too fast, so that helped me. I was able to do well.”

For Rupp, though not the top spot he was hoping for, his second place was a victory of sorts following a long recovery from surgery and a deflating showing in the Olympic marathon race only two months ago.

“I think it's really just cemented in my mind how important health is and just being able to get in a lot of consistent training which, frankly, wasn't the case for me all the time the last couple of years,” admitted the runner-up.

“I've really struggled, and it's certainly an emotional thing. I think the marathon in general is emotional for anybody that's run one and finished; so much work and effort goes into that, there's so many ups and downs in training, so many ups and downs within the race itself.”

As the thousands of runners behind him crossed the line on Columbus Drive for the first time since 2019, not many would have argued with that sentiment.