Kenya’s Chumba, Kiplagat surge late to win titles at Chicago Marathon
CHICAGO — Kenyans Dickson Chumba and Florence Kiplagat each pulled away late to sweep the Chicago Marathon titles Sunday.
Chumba broke out of a three-man pack around the 23rd mile and easily outdistanced the field for his first Chicago Marathon victory.
Kiplagat, 28, also won her first Chicago title, finishing in 2 hours, 23 minutes, 33 seconds.
Chumba, 29, completed the 26.2-mile course in 2:09:25, while fellow Kenyan Sammy Kitwara was 25 seconds back for his second consecutive runner-up finish in Chicago.
The runners were slowed down by headwinds late in the race, but Chumba was able to pull away then had the wind at his back at the end.
"I tried to push, but the wind (was) coming," he said. "It was a problem."
Kitwara couldn’t close the gap.
"My legs were not moving anymore at times," he said.
Sammy Ndungu completed Kenya’s podium sweep.
Kiplagat, the half marathon world-record holder, beat Ethiopian Yebrgual Melese by 10 seconds. Birhane Dibaba of Ethiopia was third.
Kiplagat, third at Chicago last year, briefly lay down on the asphalt after finishing then rose with a bright smile and jumped in celebration.
"I love my kids and I told them when I win I’ll jump," said Kiplagat, who has two daughters. "It’s been a long time since I’ve been in position No. 1."
Kiplagat’s last marathon win came in Berlin in 2013.
Joan Benoit Samuelson, marking the 30th anniversary of a record-setting Chicago run, was a late scratch because of illness. She had hoped to finish within 30 minutes of her 1985 time of 2:21:21.
Deena Kastor, the 2004 Olympic bronze medalist and the 2005 Chicago champion, led parts of the race at age 42 before finishing seventh in 2:27:47 as the top U.S. woman.
Luke Puskedra was the top American man with a fifth-place finish in 2:10:24.
Sunday’s race was the first without pace-setters, which officials said would result in a more competitive but slower event with record-breaking performances less likely.
The men’s and women’s champs each won $100,000.
Australian Kurt Fearnley won his fifth Chicago men’s wheelchair title and first since 2011. American Tatyana McFadden captured her fifth straight women’s wheelchair championship and sixth overall.
Wheelchair races served as the U.S. qualifier for the 2016 Paralympics.
The race opened under sunny skies with 54-degree temperatures. Runners had to contend with breezes of around 9 mph with gusts up to 15 mph.