Eliud Kipchoge Wins 2014 Bank of America Chicago Marathon in 2:04:11! by Larry Eder

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Eliud Kipchoge, photo by PhotoRun.net

In his fourth marathon, 2003 World Champion at 5,000 meters Eliud Kipchoge proved to the world, and himself, that his evolution from the World Champion at 5,000 meters to the Chicago marathon champion was complete. Staying with the lead pack, Eliud Kipchoge made moves at 36k and 40k, the 40k move being decisive as he beat, among others, Kenenisa Bekele, who was racing his second marathon, Sammy Kitwara, who finished second and Dickson Chumba, who finished third.

Eliud Kipchoge ran 2:04:11, having hit the halfway point in 62:09. Here is his story of victory in the Windy City today! 

Chicago, October 12, 2014. Eliud Kipchoge achieved one of his two goals in the Windy City, winning the 2014 Bank of America Chicago Marathon in 2:04:11, just six seconds off his best. On Friday, in the press conference interview, Eliud told me that he was enjoying the long runs and he wanted to run his personal best. Smiling, Eliud confided, " Everyone wants to win the race. I want to be with the top guys late in the race and I would like to win. I want a new PB too!" 

All of twenty-nine, Eliud Kipchoge shows that the brilliance he showed in winning the 2003 World Championships 5,000 meters at the ripe age of 18 continues on the roads. Eliud did not like the training at first for road running. He started the change in 2012, from the track to the roads. 

This was a race today, not a world record attempt. The pace was crazy early on, as the three pacemakers took the field through in 4:34 for the mile. 

The pacing was off from early on. The 5k was hit in 14:42, 10k in 29:27, 15k in 44:13, and 20k in 58:58. The lead pack got off, and meant business, from the first mile. 

Kenenisa Bekele, Dickson Chumba, Eliud Kipchoge, Lani Rutto, Bernard Koech, Wesley Korir, Ghirmay Ghebreslassie, Sammy Kitwara were all there. Americans Bobby Kersee and Matt Llano were already forty seconds back at 5k, shooting for a 2:11 pace. 

The Chicago Marathon is a fast race, four of the last five years, there have been course records. Eliud Kipchoge showed that he is a racer. The man with 12:52.8 PB (second fastest in field, to WR holder Kenenisa Bekele, who has run 12:37.35 for 5,000m in 2004, and 26:17.53 for 10,000m, in 2005), in his fourth marathon, has learnt the marathon lessons. 

The pace makers hit the half marathon in 62:09, and by that time, the pack was down to ten, including three pace makers. Wesley Korir, 2012 Boston champion, was in the pack for a bit, then dropped off, to finish eighth place. His job in the Kenyan Parliament obviously zapping some energy. 

But, all the players were there. Eliud Kipchoge was floating. Kenenisa Bekele was running behind the pace makers, as Dickson Chumba, Sammy Kitwara also checked out the competition. 

It was about 25k, hit in 1:13.58, that the race went from a record chase to a race. 

" I was not sure at 30k,"  noted Eliud Kipchoge. There was a huge pack at 30 kilometers in 1:28:47. 

Between 30k and 35k, the pack went from ten, to five. The pace makers were gone, and now the fatigue can begin to set in. 

In the pre event press conference Eliud Kipchoge had mentioned how one has to learn about the marathon. Kipchoge was quite confident then, and may considered him the possible winner due to his experience.

Kenenisa Bekele, the 5k/10k record holder, in his second marathon, made it clear that he was in the learning mode on the marathon. Jos Hermens, his manager, told us the same thing on Thursday afternoon. "The marathon takes time to learn about." noted Hermens.

For Kenenisa Bekele, the 35k to the finish was a learning experience today.

Sammy Kitwara, Eliud Kipchoge, and Dickson Chumba were together at 35k, in 1:43.21. Bernard Koech was ten seconds back, and Kenenisa Bekele was two seconds behind Koech, in fifth. 

The pace was picking up, but the top three looked fantastic.  Dickson Chumba was looking back a bit. 

Kenenisa Bekele fell off the pace a bit in the final seven kilometers, finishing fourth in 2:05:51.

Sammy Kitwara was eager to push the pace, Dickson Chumba seemed be holding on, and Eliud Kipchoge was having his epiphany. 

Kipchoge was running his fourth marathon. He would say later that his training was fantastic building up to the event, and his confidence showed over. He made a charge at 36 kilometers which shook up the pretenders and brought the players down to three. 

Eliud Kipchoge left his final push until 40 kilometers, and in ten strides, it was all over! 

Kipchoge smiled all the way from 40 kilometers to the finish, just missing his personal best, running 2:04.11. His first half had been covered in 62:09 and his second half in 62:02. 

As Eliud Kipchoge broke the tape, Sammy Kitwara and Dickson Chumba were racing for second. Kitwara ran 2:04.28 for second and Chumba ran 2:04.32 for third. Bekele took fourth in 2:05.51 and Koech was fifth in 2:08:30. 

When asked by me, why he smiled so much at the end of the race, Eliud said, " I smiled because I wanted to thank the fans on the course. I smiled to enjoy the streets of Chicago. Today, I had one of my goals. I won the Chicago Marathon." 

When asked about his fourth place finish, Kenenisa Bekele noted, " Yes I am disappointed. I did not have cramping in Paris. I did not feel right. Maybe it was the time change. I did not sleep right. I feel like I am a bit tired, my body was not reacting when they picked up the pace. I could not chase him."  
In discussing the race afterwards, Jos Hermans, Bekele's manager wondered if it was his long runs. " He only did one 40k before the Chicago marathon. This is challenge for track runners to move to the marathon."

Back to the drawing board for Kenenisa Bekele. For Eliud Kipchoge, one of the most charming athletes on the circuit, and as his manager, Valentijn Trouw will attest, one of the true gentlemen of the sport, it proved to Eliud that his training and his coach were all right.

A great day for Eliud Kipchoge. 

Kudos to young American runner Bobby Curtis, who cut two minutes, and four seconds off his best, running a fine 2:11:20 for ninth place. 

2014 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, Top Men and Prize Money, compiled courtesy of MarathonGuide.com

1. Eliud Kipchoge (KEN) 2:04:11 - $100,000 + $55,000
2. Sammy Kitwara (KEN) 2:04:28 - $50,000 + $40,000
3. Dickson Chumba (KEN) 2:04:32 - $25,000 + $40,000
4. Kenenisa Bekele (ETH) 2:05:51 - $15,000 + $10,000
5. Bernard Koech (KEN) 2:08:30 - $10,000
6. Ghirmay Ghebreslassie (ERI) 2:09:08
7. Lani Rutto (KEN) 2:10:42
8. Wesley Korir (KEN) 2:11:09
9. Bobby Curtis (USA) 2:11:20 - $10,000 + $2,500
10. Koji Kobayashi (JPN) 2:11:43
11. Jake Riley (USA) 2:13:16 - $7,500 + $2,500
12. Gabe Proctor (USA) 2:13:45 - $5,000 + $2,500
13. Christo Landry (USA) 2:14:30 - $2,500 + $2,500
14. Tim Young (USA) 2:14:40 - $1,000 + $2,500
15. Mike Morgan (USA) 2:14:42 - $2,500
16. Naoki Okamoto (JPN) 2:15:19
17. Satoru Sasaki (JPN) 2:15:25
18. Ryosuke Fukuyama (JPN) 2:15:33
19. Craig Leon (USA) 2:16:00 - $2,500
20. Carlos Trujillo (USA) 2:16:49 - $2,500
21. Rui Yonezawa (JPN) 2:17:30
22. Jason Witt (USA) 2:17:31 - $2,500
23. John Dewitt (USA) 2:17:38 - $2,500
24. Matthew Llano (USA) 2:17:43 - $2,500

#marathonguide, #runningnetwork, #abbott, #chimarathon, #nike, #worldmarathonmajors, 

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