Sunday, October 12, 2008

Chicago Marathon...

7:09 am--Welcome to's coverage of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. We are posting from the Hilton Chicago hotel, the race headquarters.

With less than an hour to go before the start, it's about 65 degrees and about 70% humidity. By the time noon rolls around, we're projecting around 72 degrees, and 68% humidity.

For those of you reading in the state of Washington, the stats we've been provided by the Chicago Marathon folks show that there are 245 entrants from the Evergreen State among the 40000+ runners signed up to run here today.

7:50 am--The wheelchair racers are on their way, with the elite runners getting ready to roll in a few minutes. The Chicago Marathon folks now announce that about 34500 runners have picked up their packets and chips.

7:55 am--The elites are on their way. Their are two pace makers in the men's race, who are supposed to take the runners to 1:02:45.

8:00 am--First mile went through at 4:51, as the masses get under way. Meanwhile, the women went through in 6:04.

8:06 am--No real change...second mile is at 4:50 on the men's side. Incidentally, there are 94 runners here from Seattle, according to the stats from the Chicago Marathon.

8:10 am--15:00 is what the lead group of eleven went through 5 kilometers. David Mandango of Kenya is the reluctant leader, flanked by the pacers....the women just went through in 18:31.

8:20 am--The usual cast of suspects are hanging out here in the press room. In front of me is Amby Burfoot of Runner's World, and Phil Hersh of the Chicago Tribune. Sitting in my row are David Monti of Race Results Weekly, and Larry Eder of the Running Network. The runners in the men's race went through 5 miles in 24:00, around 2:06:30 pace.

Former NCAA champ Boaz Cheboiywo is one of the designated pacers.

8:25 am--The men roll through 10k at 29:48, roughly about the same pace as the leaders in the Olympics. That's roughly 2:06:20 pace. It's quicker than when Khalid Khanoucchi set the world record here in 1999.

8:29 am--From watching the television screen, if you didn't know any better, you'd think that Constantina Tomescu-Dita wasn't wearing anything, with the gold outfit that Asics has her wearing, which almost blends in with her skin tone. Anyway, the women go through 10k at 36:30.

8:38 am--In the women's race, Colleen De Reuck and Kate O'Neill are in the front of the pack.

8:43 am--The 15k split was 44:43, and now the 10 mile split's been announced at 47:54. Mutai, Mandago, Cheboiywo, Kipsang, Limo, Salim Kipsang, Evans Cheruiyot & Daniel Njenga are still in it.

We've now gotten word that both pace makers have dropped out. The temperature on the course is 72 degrees and 54% humidity.

8:50 am--4:38 for mile 11, the quickest of the race! Mutai leads a single file group of five. Race reporter Toni Reavis comments on television that the pack looks like a pack at 23 miles, and not 11.

8:55 am--Some observations from Amby Burfoot of Runner's World:

"Emmanuel Mutai has taken the lead, working it pretty good. He ran 2:06:29 to win Amsterdam last fall, so he knows how to run this pace and how to win. He's closely followed by tall David Mandanago, who has a best of 2:07:23. Mutai just ran a 4:38 mile, the fastest of the race. Four are lined up in single file behind Mutai: also Kipsang, Arusei and Limo.

Daniel Njenga seems to be falling off the pack. He was reportedly running 200 miles a week to improve on string of second and third-place finishes. But it looks like his strategy might not have worked. Men's pacers are gone now, so it will be interesting to see if the pace holds up."

8:57 am--They are ahead of course record pace. Richard Limo is is fourth, away from the lead trio of Emmanuel Mutai, David Madago, and Evans Cheruiyot. Course observers say that Limo is just biding his time, and waving to the crowd. Limo is the 2001 world champ at 5000 meters. 1:02:27 is what the trio went through the half-marathon.

1:03:59 is what the women went through 11 miles.

9:05 am--Just as a heads up to you folks reading the blog, I will be leaving around 9:30 or so to walk to the finish of the race to shoot some photos, as this is a one-man operation. I suggest that folks go to or to catch the rest of the race...

The official start numbers were 32889.

9:11 am--In the women's race, former University of Kansas runner Paige Higgins was among the leaders. Higgins finished seventh in 2:40:14 last year.

Alevtina Biktimirova of Russia is the women's leader through the half-marathon at 1:16:03. There's a group of 11 at the halfway point, and just as I type, eight runners have been dropped. with Biktimorova, countrywoman Lidiya Grigoreyva and Bezunesh Bekele of Ethiopia having broken away from the big pack.

9:20 am--It's now down to two with Mandago and Cheruiyot. In the women's race, it's now down to the two Russians.

9:26 am--They are on pace for 2:05:20 for the distance. If you are watching on, Madago is the taller of the two runners wearing the blue Nike uniform.

9:35 am--We are departing the Chicago Hilton to go to the finish line of the race and try to get some photos. We will leave you in the capable hands of Larry Eder at, and Amby Burfoot at

11:30 am--We are back...Evans Cheruiyot (photo above by Paul Merca) won the Chicago Marathon in a time of 2:06:25. Lidiya Grigoryeva of Russia won the women's race in 2:27:17.

Some quotes from Evans Cheruiyot:

"I was looking to push the pace. At about 18 miles, David Mandago was moving up by doing some fartlek to try and break me, but I kept steady.

I am looking to maybe open a supermarket in Eldoret with the money I won today.

During the Olympics, I was in Eldoret watching Sammy Wanjiru winning the marathon with a bunch of friends."

I had a slight problem with my leg during training, but the heat wasn’t as big a factor.

The race developed slowly, and I was very confident with my speed. I will donate part of my winnings to a church in my hometown.

I was very surprised that nobody went with us when we picked up the pace.

12:00 pm--Quotes from winner Lidiya Grigoryeva (left/photo by Paul Merca) from Russia:

I had a slight problem with my leg during training, but the heat wasn’t as big a factor.

The race developed slowly, and I was very confident with my speed. I will donate part of my winnings to a church in my hometown.

I was very surprised that nobody went with us when we picked up the pace.

12:10 pm: Top 10 men: 1) Evans Cheruiyot, Kenya, 2:06:25; 2) David Mandago, Kenya, 2:07:37; 3) Timothy Cherigat, Kenya, 2:13:53; 4) Wesley Korir, Louisville KY, 2:13:53; 5) Martin Lauret, Netherlands, 2:15:10; 6) Emmanuel Mutai, Kenya, 2:15:36; 7) Mike Reneau, USA, 2:16:20; 8) William Kipsang, Kenya, 2;16:41; 9) Daniel Njenga, Kenya, 2:17:33; 10) Richard Limo, Kenya, 2:18:48.

12:15 pm: Top 10 women: 1) Lidiya Grigoryeva, Russia, 2:27:17; 2) Alevtina Biktimirova, Russia, 2:29:32; 3) Kiyoko Shimahara, Japan, 2:30:19; 4) Constantina Dita-Tomescu, Romania, 2:30:57; 5) Desiree Davila, Rochester Hills, Michigan, 2:31:33; 6) Colleen De Reuck, Boulder, 2:32:25 (American masters record); 7) Bezunesh Bekele, Ethiopia, 2:32:41; 8) Paige Higgins, Flagstaff, AZ, 2:33:06; 9) Kate O'Neill, USA, 2:34:04; 10) Berhane Adere, Ethiopia, 2:34:16.

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