Hot Time in Windy City-LSB Chicago Shocks with two Great Finishes!


With 36,000 starters and a starting line temp of 77 degrees, the elite races and the citizen runners all had their challenges. The men's race came down to the last twenty meters, and was decided by .05 of a second! On the womens' race, a late, late charge, after 40 kilometers changed the finish of the race! Read on to see how the race developed!

October 7, 2007
2007 La Salle Bank
30th anniversary

Good morning sportsfans! In the fifteen years that I have covered the LSB Chicago marathon,
I have never, ever seen this type of weather. In fact, you have to go back to 1979 to find
conditions as bad as this (when it was 84 degrees). 77 degrees at the start on the starting line!

45,000 marathoners signed up for the LSB Chicago Marathon before it was closed to entrants.
If anywhere near that number finish, it will be the largest finish ever here in LSB history.

This race is a race in transiition. La Salle Bank has become part of the Bank of America portfolio,
making people wonder how their very popular LSB Bank, a great corporate citizen, will change
with their aquisition. On the footwear and apparel side, NIke outbid New Balance for the footwear
and apparel contracts. Chicago is an important target market for Nike and they have some new programs
to introduce in Chicago, so watch for innovations!

In the marathon firmament, you have ASICS with ING New York, Tokyo, Flying Pig and Big Sur, adidas with
BAA Boston, Flora London, real,-Berlin, New Balance with the Elite Marathon series (Va Beach, RNR Arizona,
San Diego, San Jose, Nashville and now San Antonio), Nike now with Chicago and their own San Francisco
Women's marathon. Each race and brand have their own identity. The expo's are one of the places that I go to
to determine the health of the event in particular, and the sport in general. My favorite expo? Chicago, with its
wide walkways, open booth space, gives the consumers a chance to explore and visit the many booths. The footwear companies love Chicago because that all sell there, and the success of New Balance in the past has
been good for all concerned.

This is going to be a hot race. The race management has done all that they can to insure the safety of the
45,000-extra water, Gatorade, water spray stations and air conditioned buses at the end of the course. The
management received many offers of hoses from people along the course. This might remind some old timers
of the Boston marathon in 1976, where Jack Fultz won, the so called " War of the Hoses"

This is the eleventh race that we have reported on via the web. Today, however, you will be getting one report,
as my new computer does not support Microsoft Explorer 5.0, which needs to be used on our present web site.
Please note, we should have our new website, which we have developed for the past two years, up and running this Winter.

First reports tell us that just under 36,000 went across the starting pads with their racing chip timers....

The Men's race, Miles 1-13.1

The elite race for men started off pretty swiftly for the elite men. The pack of John Yuda, Charles Munyeki, William Chebon, Felix Limo, Daniel Njenga, Robert K. Cheruiyot, Daniel Yego, Patrick Ivuti, Bong-ju Lee, Evans Rutto, Jaouad Gharib, Ben Maiyo were all in the front pack. The leaders hit the mile in 4:48, two miles at 10:16, and
three miles in 15:17. The five kilometer mark was hit in 15:41, a 2:12:21 or 5:02 pace.

MIles four were hit in 20:13, Mile five in 25:23 and mile six in 30:26, with the 10 km hit in 31:30. The field has alot of heavy hitters, Evans Rutto, 2003,2004 champion, in his first full marathon in two years, Jaouad Gharib, 2003 and 2005 World Champion, Bong-ju Lee of Korea, silver medalist in 1996 Olympics, Boston winner in 2001, who ran a fine 2:08 to win the Seoul Marathon this past April.

Robert Cheruiyot of Kenya, the 2006 winner, is also the point leader in the World Majors, and looks poised to take the $500,000 top prize purse, even if he blows up today.

Mile seven was run in 35:31, mile 8 in 40:33, mile 9 in 45:43, and ten miles in 50:45. In the pack, some runners were having trouble, Evans Rutto, Bong-ju Lee, Jimmy Muindi, one of the most prolific of the Kenyan marathoners, are dropping off the pack. It is terrible hot and humid on the course. We just recieved a reading, that the humidity approached 86 percent at the 10k mark! Pace is still in the 2:12 pace.

For you kilometer geeks, five kilometer reached in 15:41, 10k in 31:30, 15k in 47:16.

The pace started to pick up in eleven miles, hit in 55:49, but they really put the pedal down at twelve miles, running a 4:48 for mile 12, hit in 60:36. By this time, Rutto, Lee, Muindi, Daniel Yego, and Felix Limo now, are dropping back out of the first pack!

The lead pack hit the twenty kilometers in 1:02:39, a 2:12.10 pace, and then hit the halfway in 1:05.24. The pace will start to pick up, but that combination, and the heat and humidity will make this a true war of attrition. In the lead pack, it is down to Jaouad Gharib of Morocco, Robert Cheruiyot of Kenya, Daniel Njgenga.

Gharib got involved in running at the age of twenty two! He was watching the Marakesh marathon, which convinced him to give up football (soccer) and start running. With two world championships under his belt, Gharib has to be a force to consider. He declined defending his two previous champs in Osaka, to race here. Gharib had a bad achilles injury after his fourth in Flora London last April, came back to quickly, and his injury returned.

The Women's race, Miles 1-13.1

The women went out very hard as well, with the mile hit in 5:16, two miles in 11:18 and three miles 16:57, with Kathy Butler, UW grad, representing Great Britian, in the lead. With her, was Berhane Adere of Ethiopia, the defending champion, Nuta Olaru of Romania, Adriana Pirtea, also of Romania, Benita Johnson, former World champion cross country and Australian record holder for the marathon, Liz Yelling of Great Britain.

The pack hit mile four in 22:58, mile five in 28;24, mile six in 34:09, with the 10 kilometers hit in 35:22, with Nuta Olaru of Romania in the lead, with Berhane Adere, Adriana Pirtea, Kathy Butler, Alevtina Ivanova of Russia and Benita Johnson all at the same pace.

The weather is taking its toll. By the time, the lead pack hits fifteen kilometers, Kathy Butler, the early leader, is off the pack by seventeen seconds. Alevtina Ivanova, Berhane Adere, Benita Johnson, Nuta Olaru are all in the lead pack.
Kate O'Neil, running her debut.

The women's pack hits seven miles in 39:56, eight miles in 45:46, nine miles in 51:30 and ten miles in 57:14. Ivanova, Adere look in control, Benita Johnson is there with Nuta Olaru and Liz Yelling are all up there. Yelling looks to be in some distress.

Running a 2:30.25, pace, Alevtina Ivanova hit 20 kilometers in 1:11.18, after mile eleven was hit in 63:03, twelve miles in 68:51. Adere is still there, with Adriana Pirtea, Benita Johnson, Nuta Olaru all at the same time. Liz Yelling is twelve seconds back and Kate O'Neill, on a 2: 31.20 pace is just 26 seconds back, running her first marathon.

The women's front pack hit the halfway in 1:14.35. Adere and Ivanova look great!

The Men's race, Miles 13.1 to 20 Miles

Mile 14 was hit in 1:10:14, with Gharib, Patrick Ivuti, Robert Cheruiyot, Ben Maiyo, Jimmy Muindi and Daniel Njenga, the perennial bridesmaid in LSB Chicago, in the lead pack. Gharib did a nice surge in mile fifteen, hitting
the fifteenth mile in 1:15:10. At twenty five kilometers, hit in 1:17:48, Gharib, Cheruiyot, Ivuti and Njenga look the best!

Mile sixteen was run in 4:55, hitting the mark in 1:20:10 for sixteen and seventeen in 1:25:15, and then a mile in 4:45! Gharib, Cheruiyot and Daniel Njenga. Patrick Ivuti is one second back!

The next runner, Ben Maiyo of Kenya, is back twenty-two seconds.

The pack is now down to four, Gharib, Cheruiyot, Njenga, and Ivuti, hitting the 30 kilometers in 1:33:05, a 2:10:55 pace, or 4:59 per mile pace. Bong-ju Lee of Korea is two minutes three seconds back.

Twenty Miles was hit in 1:40:05 (remember the tenth mile was hit in 50:46). It is Gharib, Ivuti as Njenga and Cheruiyot started falling off the back. The pace has picked up , but so is the heat! The bikes, who are along with
the leading men, cited a temperature of 89 degrees!

The women's race, 13.1 to 20 Miles

MIle fourteen was hit in 1:20:13, mile fifteen in 1:25:54, with 25 kilometers hit in 1:28:59 by Adriana Pirtea of Romania, Alevtina Ivanova of Russia, Berhane Adere of Ethiopia all at the same time. Benita Johnson is eleven seconds back in 1:29:10. Teyba Erkasso of Ethiopia in 1:29:16. Kate O'Neil of the US continues to move up through the pack, now in seventh, in 1:30:02, a 2:31.57 pace. Liz Yelling is in eighth place, in 1:30:08, Kathy Butler in ninth in 1:32.04, and Paige Higgins of the U.S. in tenth in 1:33:26.

The race is getting interesting, as Adera and Pirtea start a fartlek workout between the two. One surge, then another, and Ivanova, Benita Johnson and the rest of the pack fall off. The only person moving up is Kate ONeill of the U.S, who has moved into fifth place. Adere and Pirtea hit 30 kilometers in 1:47:20. Liz Yelling has moved up to seventh place, runing a 2:33 pace!

Berhane Adere and hitting nineteen mile sin 1:49:38 and twenty miles in 1:55:54, with Pirtea in second!

The Men's race, Miles 21-Finish

And now there were three..Robert Cheruiyot of Kenya, the 2006 winner, Jaouad Gharib of Morocco, the two time World Champion, a man who has NEVER won a big city marathon, and Patrick Ivuti of Kenya, fifth in LSB Chicago
in 2005, also has not won a marathon. The leaders hit hit the 30 kilometers in 1:49:07. Ivuti, Cheruiyot, Gharib and Njenga.

Gharib and Ivuti are surging, hitting twenty one miles in 1:45:15, twenty -two miles in 1:50:26. At twenty-two miles,
Robert Cheruiyot is in trouble, and begins to fall back, with Njenga just behind the pack.

Gharib and Ivuti both look very good. Gharib throws in a surge, then Ivuti answers it, no one seems to be able to break another. Twenty-three miles was hit in 1:55:22, with Gharib and Ivuti next to another. Twenty-four miles
hit in 2:00:17. At 40 kilometers, Patrick Ivuti has the lead, hitting 2:04:36 at 40 kilometers, with Jaouad Gharib
of Morocco at 2:04:37, Daniel Njenga is in third, forty-one seconds back. Robert Cheruiyot of Kenya, is in fourth,
Ben Maiyo is in fifth, Christopher Cheboiboch is in sixth and Bong-Ju Lee of Korea is in seventh.

Over the last 2.2 kilometers, Gharib and Ivuti were inseperable. Gharib would make a move, then Ivuti would make a move and at 26 miles, Jaouad Gharib of Morocco made his move, and went into a small lead, which Patrick Ivuti challenged and went back into the lead. Gharib responded and moved ahead again, and got as much as a
five meter lead with one hundred meters to go.

At this time, Gharib miscalculated and did not know where Ivuti was. Patrick Ivuti mounted one last charge with about fifty meters to go, as as Gharib thought he was breaking the tape, Ivuti passed Gharib on Gharib's right!
The person holding the finishing tape did not move over so Ivuti had to push his way through the finish line!

It took several replays for us to figure out the Men's finish. The officials read the closest finish in LSB history as
this : 1. Patrick Ivuti, Kenya, 2:11:11, 2. Jaouad Gharib, Morocco, 2:11:11.05, 3. Daniel Njenga, Kenya, 2;12.45, 4. Robert K. Cheruiyot, Kenya, 2:16;13, 5. Ben Maiyo, Kenya, 2:16:59, 6. Christopher Cheboiboch, Kenay, 2:17:17,
7. Bong-ju Lee, Korea, 2:17:29, 8. Michael Cox, U.S.A, 2:21:42, 9. Jason Flogel, USA, 2:26:34, 10. Eric Blake, USA, 2:26:55.

Final comments on the men's race: This was Gharib's race to win or loose. He ran the race well, and executed everything well, up to about fifty meters to go, when his strength and endurance had to be zapped. Patrick Ivuti
ran a smart race, challenged Gharib and figured out that the race is not over until you cross the finish line!

Women's final miles, Miles 21-Finish

Berhane Adere and Adriana Pirtea were hurting. No doubts about it. The miles between 22 and 24 were getting slower and slower. After the twenty-third mile, run in 6:14, Adriana Pirtea made her surge and by 40 kilometers,
which Pirtea hit in 2:25.26, the Romanian had thirty seconds over Adere! Most people would consider the race
to be over!

But hold on, sportsfans! We just had a men's race that was decided by .05 of a second! So, under the cover of no television, Berhane Adere made up the thirty seconds she was back with a huge charge for the finish after 40 kilometers.

As Adriana Pirtea of Romania came running down the finish line, with less than one hundred meters to go, Berhane Adere passed Pirtea, but Pirtea did not know it! Adere was on one side of the finish stretch, with two male runners between her and Pirtea. Pirtea was waving to the crowd, thinking she had won.

Berhane Adere, former World Champion at 10,000 meters, defending champion of the La Salle Bank Chicago marathon, caught Pirtea and sprinted for the win, crossing the finish line, not breaking the tape, in 2:33:49, defeating Adriana Pirtea, in her debut by three seconds!

In both races, it came down to huge finish efforts and the competition should leave regular sports fans breathless!

1. Berhane Adere, Ethiopia, 2;33:49, 2. Adriana Pirtea, Romania 2:33:52-debut, 3. Kate O'Neil, USA, 2:36:15-debut,
4. Liz Yelling, Great Britian, 2:37:14, 5. Benita Johnson, Australia, 2:38:30, 6. Nuta Olaru, Romania, 2:39:04, 7. Paige Higgins, USA, 2:40:14.

In the final analysis, the elite races were shaped by the heat and the humidity. But the heroic efforts of the winners and the lead packs, made both races truly competitive, with exciting finish line action! Now, we shall see how the 36,000 other runners fared in the heat and humidty of Chicago!

For complete story on the La Salle Bank Chicago marathon, click on :

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