Kebede claims victory and sets course record


ATHLETICS:TSEGAYE KEBEDE became the first Ethiopian to win the Chicago Marathon, setting a course record in the process, yesterday.

The 25-year-old Kebede and countryman Feyisa Lilesa separated themselves from a pack of East African runners at about the 23-mile mark. The two traded the lead down the stretch until a burst by Kebede in the last mile and a half propelled him across the finish line first.

Kebede finished with a time of 2 hours, 4 minutes, 38 seconds.Kenyan men had won nine consecutive Chicago Marathons, and last year Moses Mosop set a course record in 2:05:37.

Kebede finished second there in 2010 in a close race, losing to Kenya’s Sammy Wanjiru by 19 seconds. Kebede placed third in the London Marathon in April and won there in 2010 but was left off this year’s Ethiopian Olympic team. Lilesa finished second on Sunday with a time of 2:04:52 and Ethiopia’s Tilahun Regassa finished third to sweep the top three positions.

Ethiopia also emerged victorious in the women’s division when Atsede Baysa edged Kenya’s Rita Jeptoo by a step in a thrilling finish. The two women ran shoulder to shoulder for the last two miles, matching each other through the final straightaway.

They reached the finish line in tandem, but Baysa held off Jeptoo’s final surge and finished in 2:22:03. Liliya Shobukhova of Russia had won a record three consecutive Chicago Marathons. She led the women’s field at the halfway mark, but faded and finished fourth. Lucy Kabuu of Kenya was third.

It was 42 degrees Fahrenheit (5.5 Celsius) as the runners started out – significantly cooler than last year’s 64-degree starting temperature and the notable heat at the Boston Marathon earlier this year, which reached 89 degrees.

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