Mosop and Shobukhova breeze to fast winning times in the windy city

Moses Mosop and Liliya Shobukhova dominate at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Liliya Shobukhova (Mark Shearman)

Just two weeks after his wife, Florence Kiplagat, won the Berlin Marathon, Kenya’s Moses Mosop won today’s Bank of America Chicago Marathon in similarly dominant fashion with a course record.

But even more impressive was Liliya Shobukhova, who won the women’s race for the third year in succession and broke her own Russian record to go to No.2 on the world all-time list.

After a large lead pack went through half way in 62:54, the group was gradually whittled down. USA’s Ryan Hall was one of the first to drop back, while seven athletes – including Mosop, Wesley Korir and Bernard Kipyego – pressed ahead.

The field went through 30km in 1:28:46 – just two minutes slower than the track world record Mosop set over the same distance earlier this year – and five athletes were still in contention.

But five kilometres later Mosop was all by himself with a 26-second lead over Kipyego. Thanks to his 14:29 split, Mosop was operating at sub-2:05 pace.

With no one else for company, Mosop found it difficult to maintain that pace to the finish, but he had done more than enough to win comfortably and went on to win in 2:05:37, breaking the course record set two years ago by the late Samuel Wanjiru.

It was just Mosop’s second marathon to date. His first was in Boston earlier this year, where he ran a 2:03:06 debut on an illegal point-to-point course.

The fast-finishing Korir closed well in the final stages to overtake Kipyego, finishing second in 2:06:15 to Kipyego’s 2:06:29 as Kenya landed a clean sweep. Ethiopia’s Bekana Daba was fourth in 2:07:59, while home favourite Hall made up significant ground to take fifth in 2:08:04.

Much like Mosop, Shobukhova waited until after half way to make her move in the women’s race. At 13.1 miles – reached in 69:25 – she was joined by Japan’s Kayoko Fukushi and marathon debutante Ejegayehu Dibaba, the 2004 Olympic 10,000m silver medallist. All were running in unfamiliar territory.

Shobukhova then began to break away and by 30km (1:38:23) she had almost a one-minute lead over Dibaba and Fukushi. The Russian’s lead continued to grow by one minute with each 5km sector and she stretched ahead to win in 2:18:20.

Not only was it a two-minute improvement on the Russian record set when finishing second in London earlier this year, but she now becomes the second-fastest woman of all-time behind world record-holder Paula Radcliffe.

Following the Berlin and London wins in from Kiplagat and Mary Keitany respectively, this is the first year in which three separate big city marathons have had sub-2:20 winners of the women’s race.

Finishing behind Shobukhova and running a superb debut was Dibaba, who clocked 2:22:09.  Fukushi, who famously ran a painful marathon debut in 2008 after going off way too fast, held on well here to finish third in 2:24:38. Ethiopia’s Belaynesh Gebre (2:26:17) and France’s Christelle Daunay (2:26:41) made up the top five.

Britain’s Claire Hallissey ran a well-controlled race to move from ninth at half way to sixth at the finish, smashing her PB with a 2:29:27 run, throwing her hat well and truly in the ring for Olympic selection with a performance that puts her at 14th on the UK all-time list.

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