CHICAGO--Welcome to paulmerca.blogspot.com's somewhat live blog from the Bank of America Chicago Marathon!
We will try to give you as close to live updates as possible from our spot here in the press room at the Hilton Hotel near the finish line of the race.
A housekeeping note--we will be leaving the blog when the lead runners approach the 20 mile mark and make our way to the finish line, which is a little bit of a walk, especially with the detours. We will do our best to do whatever updates we can through the use of our Twitter page (twitter.com/paulmerca70601).
Right now, (6:52 am, local time) the temperature is about 58 degrees, with winds about 4 mph out of the west. By around 11 am (3:30 into the race), it's supposed to get to 76 degrees, and to 80 degrees by noon.
There are 112 runners entered from Seattle; don't have a breakdown by state yet from the organizers. The organizers are anticipating close to 45000 runners on the line.
One runner we will be keeping close tabs of is Bellevue's Mike Sayenko, who is looking to run 2:12. If you saw the video we posted yesterday, the weather may play a factor in whether or not he hits it.
Favorites: Defending champ Liliya Shobukhova of Russia (2:25:56 last year), and Germany's Irina Mikitenko are the women's favorites. On the men's side, Kenya's defending Olympic champ Sammy Wanjiru along with countryman and Boston Marathon champ Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot, plus Ethiopians Tsegaye Kebede and Deriba Merga are the ones to watch.
Keep checking back for updates...you can also watch the race live online at universalsports.com!
7:30 am--67 degrees with no breeze at the start of the race. Mike Sayenko is wearing a white top with the Strands logo.
In last year's race, Sammy Wanjiru went out at around 29:10 at 10k, and 62:01 with the pacemakers. At yesterday's technical meeting, they've asked the pacemakers to run around 62:30.
7:35 am--The pacemakers have gone through the first mile in 4:48, with the women through at 5:15.
7:46 am--Pacemakers have gone through 5k at 15:01, with a third mile close to 5 minutes. Women are through 5k at 16:30; lead women are Shobukhova, Baysa, Magarsa, Konovalova & Daska.
7:55 am--23:52 with a group of 11 in the pack. The usual group of suspects are here in the press room--David Monti, Phil Hersh, Amby Burfoot, Larry Eder, Jim Gerwick, Mr Stats Ken Nakamura, et al. 26:39 at 5 miles for the women.
8:00 am--The leaders are on 2:05 pace. Through 10k, 29:32, with this 5k segment 14:29.
8:05 am--The women go thru 10k at 33:04; pace has picked up.
8:12 am--It's Wanjiru, Vincent Kipruto, Tsegaye Kebede and Deriba Merga in the lead men's group as they cross mile 9 in 42:54, a 4:48 last mile, and still on 2:05 pace. On the womens side Shobukhova is up there.
The 15k split is 44:28 for the men; Wanjiru is getting a bit frustrated with the pacers.
8:20 am--The men cross ten miles at 47:39; KIrui, Muge, Kebede, Merga, Wanjiru are in the lead pack; projected finish time 2:04:52.
Remember we will be leaving the blog at 9 am local time to get to the finish line and photo duties.
8:27 am--The men run 57:13 at 12 miles; Tim Hutchings from the BBC, who is the press room commentator suspects that the second half of the race may be something special. At 11 miles, the women are at 58:31, with three Ethiopian women and Shobukhova about 10 meters back.
8:33 am--62:35 at the halfway mark; 59:16 at 20k for the men.
8:40 am--Wanjiru, Kipruto, Kebede, Lilesa, Cheruiyot, Merga, Korir & Moiben in the lead men's group. There's a bit of looking around between the combatants. Let's see who makes the move to break it open.
8:41 am--Women go through halfway at 69:45, a 5:19 mile, with Ethopians Mamitu Daska in the lead and Astede Baysa just behind.
8:46 am--The women cross 14 miles in 1:14:28, a 5:17 mile. 1:14:29 for the men at 25 k.
8:50 am--Pacemakers have dropped out after the half marathon mark, except for one, Gudeta Tola of Ethiopia. 1:19:49 for the women at 15 miles.
Housekeeping note--we will be gone in about ten minutes. I urge you to look to chicagomarathon.runnersworld.com, runblogrun.com, and (hopefully) our Twitter feed at twitter.com/paulmerca70601.
8:55 am--There's a ten second gap between the top two women; Cheruiyot, the men's winner in Boston has fallen off the pace. 1:26:31 at 18 miles, with Kebede & Wanjiru watching each other.
The 30 k split will be the last we'll have before we make our way to the finish line for photo duties. We'll leave you in the capable hands of chicagomarathon.runnersworld.com, and runblogrun.com.
The 30k split is 1:29:36, a 15:06 last 5k. The lead woman, Baysa went through the 17 mile mark at 1:30:31. 38132 runners at the start.
Signing off until after the race with a race recap...oh by the way, Merga has just dropped out. It's now down to five men...
POST RACE--Kenya's Sammy Wanjiru's late race move in the last mile to overtake Ethiopia's Tsegaye Kebede proved decisive as the reigning Olympic champ took the victory on a warm day.
Wanjiru and the elite runners asked for a first half of around 62 minutes from the pace maker and went through in 62:35.
The real racing began after the 30 kilometer mark when a surge took the group of about 10 runners down to five, with Kebede and Wanjiru at the front.
There was a bit of a cat-and-mouse game between the two, but Wanjiru made a late move, dropping Kebede in the last half mile, opening up what ultimately was a 19-second gap, winning in 2:06:24, to Kebede's 2:06:43.
Ethiopia's Feyisa Lilesa was third in 2:08:10.
(left/photo by Paul Merca) from Bellevue scored a personal best of 2:14:27 in finishing tenth.
In the women's race, Liliya Shobukhova of Russia retained her title, setting a personal best and new national record, clocking 2:20:25.
The Russian, who at one point was behind over 20 seconds, let Ethiopia's Astede Baysa and Mamitu Daska do most of the work, then took over the race shortly after the 20-mile mark.
Baysa hung on for second at 2:23:40, while Maria Konovalova of Russia was third in 2:23:50.
Former Arizona State runner Desiree Davila was the top American in a personal best 2:26:20 in fourth place.
American marathon legend Joan Benoit Samuelson finished in 2:47:50, missing the Olympic Trials standard of 2:46:00, but setting a new American age 50-54 record.
Complete results are available at chicagomarathon.com.
NOTE: Special thanks to Nike Media Relations for their assistance in covering the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.