Chicago Marathon has repeat champions

By Etheria Modacure

Two elite athletes who won the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in 2009 returned to claim victory in this year’s race. The marathon featured more than 39,000 athletes who ran 26.2 miles throughout the city, with temperatures reaching above 80 degrees on Oct. 10.

The Chicago Marathon is part of the World Marathon Majors, which consists of six marathons’ in which elite athletes  compete to win a collective $1 million.

The World Marathon Majors conclude with the ING New York City Marathon on Nov. 7. Sammy Wanjiru and Lilya Shobuhkova are point leaders in the majors having won the Chicago Marathon for the second consecutive time.

The scoring system gives 25 points to the winner of each marathon, 15 points for a second place finish and 10 points for third. The marathons include: Boston, Berlin, the IAAF World Championships and the London marathon, concluding with the Chicago and New York marathons.

Tsegaye Kebede, from Ethiopia, and Wanjiru were tied at 50 points atop the leader board for the 2009–2010 majors. Wanjiru, winning the Chicago marathon, received 75 total points, and he has to finish no lower than third in the New York Marathon to ensure another

majors championship and another $1 million dollars.

Wanjiru, 23-year old a native Kenyan, has built a stacked resume. He won the 2008 Olympic Marathon in Beijing and was crowned the 2008–2009 World Marathon Majors winner to accompany winning the Chicago Marathon in 2009.

Kebede wasn’t disappointed after the race as he said he did the best he could, and wasn’t discouraged finishing second behind Wanjiru again.

Kebede and Wanjiru were neck and neck toward the end of the race, but Wanjiru was able to edge him just before making the last turn toward the finish line. Kebede finished with a time of 2:06:43, just 19 seconds behind Wanjiru.

Jason Hartmann, of Grand Rapids, Mich., was the first American male to cross the finish line, he said he made sure to keep his energy consistent during the race and was nervous before the event, finishing with a time of 2:11:06.

“Early on, I just tried to stay within myself and conserve as much energy as possible,” Hartmann said. “Every time there was an opportunity to take water, I did.”

Hartmann won the Twin Cities Marathon in 2009 and hopes he can do well in the Olympic trials and earn a spot on the 2012 U.S. Olympic team to compete in London.

Hartmann added throughout the early adversity, he was able to remain focused on completing the race while he saw other racers drop out.

From downtown to the North Side, the race was organized so spectators could encourage runners as they passed. The race continued through the Lincoln Park and Pilsen neighborhoods

as well.

There were a reported 6,913 international participants from 106 countries for

the marathon.

The high temperatures didn’t affect Wanjiru. He remarked on his enjoyment of running in a warm climate.

“Weather was different for me,” Wanjiru said. “I like hot weather, today was my day. I was focused on the race. I was not thinking about the time, only the race.”

Hartmann shared the same sentiment and said he never locked himself into a certain

time goal.

“Each race is different,” Hartmann said. “Sometimes you have to readjust and sometimes weather plays

a factor.”

The enthusiasm and support shown by spectators at the marathon was clearly evident to Hartmann, a Midwest-born runner who attended

Oregon University.

“The [crowd] made the difference, especially the last four miles,” Hartmann said. “You can get a lot of energy from people that are cheering for you, especially when you

get tired.”