photo by PhotoRun.net
Shobukhova is one of the best women marathoners on the planet. Her modus operandi is a very tough second half, where she catches her quarry, and runs by them over the last several kilometers. She has run five marathons and won three of them with those tactics. In her last two ventures, she has set Russian national records and has come tantalizingly close to break the 2:20 barrier. (Liliya Shobukhova took third in London in 2009, won Chicago in 2009, won Chicago and London in 2010 and took second in London in 2011).
Liliya Shobukhova, 2010 Virgin London Marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net
Interview: Liliya Shobukhova
(Questions came from several media members, so I paraphrased and used the quotes that made sense for this interview.)
Liliya Shobukhova spoke to the media via telephone from Beloresk, in the southern Urals, " I am training at home. "
Shobukhova speaks as carefully as she runs. She considers the questions and is not going to make a communication error. Here are a few of our her answers (Liliya responds in Russian and then we were given translations.)
How do you feel about racing in Chicago once again?
Liliya Shobukhova: "Yes, for me is a great honor and privilege to be invited to the great Chicago marathon again. The marathon has grown in participation, it has gained excellent field of elite athletes, and up until now, no one has managed to win three titles in a row. And it is because of that fact, it has interested many people, and it is exciting for myself as well."
You have raced well on the Chicago course, any thoughts about your third time racing?
Liliya Shobukhova:"Even though I have run Chicago twice before, this time, it is a new competition. And because of that, I do not know what is going to happen. Every year, Carey Pinkowski invites the best of the best from the entire world, so the competition is very stiff and the competition is very, very good."
Have you raced since your 10k in the NYRR Mini (June 12), and how is your training going?
Liliya Shobukhova:" No racing, and my training is going according to plan. No, I am now focusing on the marathon training. "
You have raced well over the 1,500 meters to 5,000 meters, what made you try the marathon distance?
Liliya Shobukhova:"Marathon was always a distance that I wanted to try, even though I enjoyed the shorter distances. In the marathon, there is a lot more time to take place and you never know who is going to win until the end, you never know how it is going to go over 42 kilometers. "
Several marathoners have broken 2:20, is that your goal?
Liliya Shobukhova: "Since I have already run 2:20 twice, I would like to make a higher goal and get under 2:20."
What do you like about the Chicago course?
Liliya Shobukhova:"I like Chicago very much, it is a fast, flat course, I like it very much."
Paula Radcliffe ran 2:17 at Chicago, is that your goal this year?
Liliya Shobukhova: "Running from 2:20 to 2:17 is very tough, I prefer to do things more gradually."
How did you choose to run Chicago in the first place?
Liliya Shobukhova: "My manager, Andrey Baranov, chooses the marathons for me, and he decided that the Chicago marathon would be a good one for me."
How does Russia pick the Olympic team? Are you on the marathon squad?
Liliya Shobukhova:"I am now a candidate for the team. They will be picking the team next year. And I think, it will depend on the best results. Because the competition in Russia is very, very high. "
Surely your two records for the marathon should give you some standing, who is better than you in Russia?
Liliya Shobukhova:"Yes, I have set those two records, but someone could come around and beat them. At this point, I am still a candidate for the team, so I can not say I whether I will be on the team or not. A lot depends on how I run the Chicago marathon, after that, they will be able to tell me for sure."
You ran 69:18 for the second half of Virgin London this year, your second half of races is so strong, what do you do to train for such a result?
Liliya Shobukhova:"No secrets in my training, we try to run the second half always faster than the first half. Even if it is hard, I try to run the second half two to three seconds faster than the first. That is to say, I like to run the second half two to three seconds per kilometer faster than the first half. "
Carey Pinkowski:, in reference to Philip Hersh's query, regarding a special bonus for a three peat victory, was humorous, " Obviously, we will invite Liliya back to attempt the fourth victory."
Carey Pinkowski: " I think Berlin and Chicago are the fastest of the five majors."
Robin Monsky, PR manager for B of A Chicago Marathon added, " We do things different in Chicago."
Carey Pinkowski finished the press conference with this comment: "If you look at history of the event, from Joan Benoit Samuelson to Paula Radcliffe, from Ingrid Kristenson to Rosa Mota. We again have the support of the Bank of America, our title sponsor, in putting this race on, and we are we are very excited to have Liliya Shobukhova running at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon."
Liliya Shobukhova Aiming for First-Ever Three-Peat at
2011 Bank of America Chicago Marathon
Bank of America Chicago Marathon Is Only World Marathon Major Without a Three-Peat; Shobukhova Would Claim Second Straight World Marathon Majors Series Title with Historic Victory in Chicago
CHICAGO - The Bank of America Chicago Marathon today announced
that two-time defending champion Liliya Shobukhova will return to
compete for her third straight victory, a feat that has never before
been accomplished at Chicago's fall classic. The Russian Olympian and
national record-holder has dominated the flat and fast streets of
Chicago for the past two years, crushing the competition with a
devastating kick in 2009, and using patient, measured tactics to outlast
her competition in 2010. A victory at the 34th annual Bank of America
Chicago Marathon on October 9 would put Shobukhova in a class by
herself as owner of three consecutive titles.
The Bank of America Chicago Marathon has witnessed 12 back-to-back champions--seven women (including Shobukhova) and five men--yet the closest three-peat performer was Kenya's Catherine Ndereba who placed second in 2002 after winning the 2000 and 2001 races. On the men's side, Kenya's Evans Rutto nearly accomplished the feat after victories in 2003 and 2004, but he dropped to fourth in 2005. Khalid Khannouchi, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon's all-time leader with four victories (in the span of six years), was never able to string together more than two in a row, which he achieved in 1999-2000.
With its storied history of highly competitive elite fields, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon stands as the only member of the World Marathon Majors in which an athlete has never been able to beat all comers for three consecutive years.
"I would like to thank the Bank of America Chicago Marathon for the opportunity to return to this world-class event for the third year in a row," said Shobukhova. "This year, there is additional pressure as I am the two-time defending champion and despite all the prior repeat champions, no one has yet been able to earn three straight victories in Chicago. Each year that I return to the Bank of America Chicago Marathon I feel more popular there, the crowds recognize me, and I am more familiar with the course. This will help me run faster and possibly set another record, which is especially important in my preparation for the 2012 Olympic Games next summer."
Coming off a runner-up finish at the 2011 Virgin London Marathon where she improved her Russian record to 2:20:15, a victory in Chicago would undoubtedly cement Shobukhova's status as a gold medal favorite for the 2012 Olympic Games Marathon. The Bank of America Chicago Marathon will be her final marathon competition prior to the Olympics, and an invaluable opportunity to compete against a deep field of international competitors.
"Liliya has the opportunity to do what no other athlete has done in the history of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon--and there have been some great ones," said Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski. "Each year we bring together the world's best runners to compete head-to-head on the streets of Chicago, so the three-peat is no easy task. Liliya is one of the savviest competitors I have ever seen with her incredible speed, strength, tactics and discipline out on the race course. I'm certain she has a special performance in store for us on October 9, and that she's looking to send a message that she's the one to beat at the Olympic Games next summer."
Shobukhova is also the defending World Marathon Majors series champion and a third straight victory at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon would seal her standing atop the 2010-2011 series leader board and the $500,000 share of the $1 million WMM prize purse.
Bank of America Chicago Marathon Back-to-Back Champions
1983-1984, 3rd in 1985
1988-1989, did not run in 1990
1996-1997, 10th in 1998
1998-1999, did not run in 2000
2000-2001, 2nd in 2002
2006-2007, 10th in 2008
1984-1985, did not run in 1986
1993-1994, did not run in 1995
1999-2000, did not run in 2001
2003-2004, 4th in 2005
World Marathon Majors Three-Peat Champions
Virgin London Marathon
BMW Berlin Marathon
ING New York City Marathon
2006-2009 (four in a row)
1976-1979 (four in a row)
1978-1980, 1982-1986 (five in a row)
About the Bank of America Chicago Marathon
In its 34th year and a member of the World Marathon Majors, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon annually attracts 45,000 participants, including a world-class elite runner and wheelchair field, and an estimated 1.7 million spectators. As a result of its national and international draw, each year, the iconic race assists in raising millions for a variety of charitable causes while generating $150 million in economic impact to its host city according to a report by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (R.E.A.L.). The 2011 Bank of America Chicago Marathon will start and finish in Chicago's Grant Park beginning at 7:30 a.m. on October 9. In advance of the race, a two-day Health & Fitness Expo will be held at McCormick Place Convention Center on October 7-8.