CHICAGO | Picturesque conditions led to a record-setting day at the Chicago Marathon on Sunday morning.
Kenyan native Dennis Kimetto broke the course record by crossing the finish line in 2:03:45, 53 seconds faster than Tsegaye Kebede’s winning time of 2:04:38 last year.
Given the conditions, race experts had predicted that Wilson Kipsang’s world-record time of 2:03:23 could possibly be in jeopardy. Kipsang set the world mark two weeks ago in Berlin.
Kimetto and runner-up Emannuel Mutai were nearly on pace to set the world record through 35 kilometers, but slowly faded down the stretch.
“I didn’t pay attention to the clock at all,” Kimetto said. “I literally only paid attention to it right at the end. When I got to the finish line was when I saw I got the course record.”
Sunday’s race was Kimetto’s third career marathon and first race in Chicago. The former Kenyan farmer took second in the Berlin Marathon last September, setting the world record for fastest marathon debut with a time of 2:04:16. Kimetto then won the Tokyo Marathon in February.
Rita Jeptoo built on last year’s runner-up finish in Chicago with a dominant victory in the women’s race on Sunday, crossing the finish line 2:19:58. Jeptoo pocketed an additional $40,000 for crossing the line in under 2:20.
HAPPY DEBUT: Sam Rangaswamy was all smiles after completing his first marathon. The Schererville native was talked into running in the Chicago Marathon by one of his co-workers at Arcelor Mittal and he didn’t regret the decision on Sunday.
“What a great feeling to have after finishing this race,” Rangaswamy said. “From 25.2 to 26.2, I can’t really describe what that felt like in the last mile. Just amazing.”
HANGING THEM UP: Paul Jankowski has been running with Opportunity Enterprises since the O.E. Marathon team launched in 1999. The Valparaiso native is one of a handful of runners who remain from the 65 members of the original team. Now that he has run his 20th marathon, Jankowski is ready to put away his marathon shoes for the time being.
“My body needs a rest and my mind definitely needs a rest,” said Jankowski, a former Times correspondent. “The same thing happened this year that always happens. I went through the training runs and I felt good. I’d finish ahead of the people I trained with and everyone told me I was in great shape. I was on pace and then my stomach started acting up on me. I just fell apart. When you realize you aren’t going to hit your goal, you just want it over with.”