2008 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, version 31, by Larry Eder


The weather was again part of the story at the 2008 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, version 31, with a spectacular win by Evans Cheruiyot, in his only second marathon, running a 2:06:25, the thirtieth fastest time on the all time list, after a near suicidal early pace. Lidiya Grigoyeva of Russia, who benefited from the conservative running of the women's elite race, ran her second half five minutes faster than the first, taking the lead at 30 kilometers and winning by two minutes!

But the other part of the race, where nearly 35,000 still have to finish-the citizen runners, even with the heat, has been much better for both runners and the race. The water is cold, there is enough precautions that the criticisms of last year will not be heard in 2008..

Deep thoughts..

Last night, Carey Pinkowski, the Executive Director of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon spoke to the crowd of race directors and industry dignitaries at the the B of A/Running Network Race Directory and Industry reception. " I remember something my college coach, Jumbo Elliot said, A true champion is judged by how he deals with adversity." Cary was very introspective last night and quite relaxed after the reception, when he and I caught up.

The 2007 race was tough and must have been difficult for Cary Pinkowski. But, in champion fashion, the Bank of America Chicago marathon staff took over the challenges and is now an example of how to prepare for inclement weather. Pinkowski and crew have done their job well. And the temperatures were part of the story-65 at the start, with 70 percent humidity to 78 degrees and 40 percent humidty
by two hours into the race...

More on the weather...

At 11.30, aid stations one to eight have had all the runners pass. By 11 am, the
temperature was 84 degrees, humidity just under 40 percent, and the warning flags
had gone from yellow to red. That means that the volunteers began to alert the
runners to adjust their plans, and perhaps go slower....

and now, the interviews......

Evans Cheruiyot, Kenya, Winner, 2008 Bank of America Chicago champion

"I ran, I feel okay. After I try my best, and I won today. I ran last month in Rotterdam,
59:29, it was okay for that time...I felt comfortable...I put alot of water on my head as I sweat alot...I had won the 20k ( Paris in 2005) and I did not get any money ( his
agent took off with money and left group of Kenyan athletes without any means of support, in Strassbourg)..we were fifteen Kenyans, in strong room, did not get about big house, because we did not know about this manager, but we survived!

Mandago ran just like a fartlek, he was testing me (about eighteen miles), but me, I just kept together...I will use my money for a business in Kenya, maybe like a supermarket in Eldoret, and I am Kaligen ( his tribe). (The other fourteen runners who lived with me in Strassbourg), are strong, but not like me...the corruption was so bad
I drove to workouts..I watched the Olympics middle of the night...from Eldoret"

Top Ten Men:1) Evans Cheruiyot, Kenya, 2:06:25, 2) David Mandago, Kenya, 2:07:37, 3)Timothy Cherigat, Kenya, 2:11:39, 4) Wesley K. Korir, USA, 2:13:53, 5) Martin Lauret, Netherlands, 2:15:10, 6)Emmanuel Mutai, Kenya, 2:15:37, 7) Mike Reneau, USA, 2:16.20, 8)William Kipsang, Kenya, 2:16:41, 9) Daniel Njenga, Kenya, 2:17:33,
10)Richard LImo, Kenya, 2:18:48.

Lidiya Grigoryeva, Bank of America Chicago marathon champion..

" During training, I had a slight problem with my leg..but it did not affect the race, I had a spasm in my leg, but it was not a problem..with five kilometers to go, I know that I had a good lead with five kilometers...when I get home, my daughter, Victoria, who is six and one half years, when told of her mother's win, Victoria asked if she (her mother) had bought a dress yet for the daughter for the upcoming wedding!"

Top ten women: 1) Lidiya Grigoryeva, Russia, 2:27:17, 2) Alvetina Biktimorova, Russia, 2:29:32, Kiyoko Shimihara, Japan, 2:30:19, 4) Constantina Tomescu-Dita, Romania, 2:30:57,5) Desiree Davila, USA, 2:31:33, 6) Colleen de Reuck, USA, 2:32:35, (new US age record), 7)Bezuneh Bekele, Ethiopia, 2:32:41, 8) Paige Higgins, USA, 2:33:06, 9) Kate O'Neill, USA, 2:34:04, 10) Berhane Adere, Ethiopia, 2:34:16.

Carey Pinkowski, Executive Director, Bank of America Chicago Marathon:

"We are running 65 percent of capacity, all good day, significantly lower numbers in tents this year, and the temperature at eleven in the morning was 84 percent. I increased resources across the board, city opened with opening hydrants, misting sites on the course, this is about a collective effort, what we took from 2007, and aspects we changed last year were all for the better...I was focused on the operations scheme today, I will watch the race on a tape this afternoon. They come here to pin their ears back and get after it, they wanted to put some great performances up--goes back to Steve Jones and Joan Samuelson, that is what this race is all about..."

David Mandago, Kenya, second place

"Main problem was the weather conditions. It was hard for me to lift the legs because I sweat alot. I was not scared about anything, but toward the end, I was started to feel the sun being strong. I was sweating a lot. No, I did not expect to win. I was trying to do something something, but the weather did not allow me to go...in 2006, I ran a hotter marathon in Mombai, India."

Timothy Cherigat, Kenya, third place, (his twelfth marathon, has raced Boston six times, Chicago twice, NY two times)

"Marathon is a race to learn about. Today I stayed back, and I ran by myself. If I had been much stronger, I would have run much better. To try and run more faster and get a better position today. I train in Kenya, then in Colorado at our camp with Deiter. I decided to be patient, go back a little bit, start pushing later. Kenyan navy is in Mombasa, Eldoret is where I was born. I show up when I do not train, and work there. I am a corporal in the Kenyan Navy. Sometimes in the sea, but not too much. I do not think I am liberty to say that ( response to question about how many ships Kenyan Navy has.)"

( Congrats to Phil McCartney, Nike global running footwear manager, 2:27:16, who presented to media last night and ran race today. Phil was 20th.

Congrats to Running Network Footwear Editor, Cregg Weinmann, who ran 3:48:54 for his marathon run, Cregg was 4,419th. )

For more on the sport of running, please check http//:www.runningnetwork.com

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