FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wanjiru Breaks North American and Course Record at the
32nd Running of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon
CHICAGO (October 11, 2009) - The 32nd running of the Bank of America
Chicago Marathon today witnessed 34,792 participants at the start and
33,419 official finishers, a men's course record, a new female champion, a
three-time wheelchair champion and a sprint finish in the women's
With a chilly start line temperature of 33°F and calm, 4 mph winds coming
out of the northwest, the men's and women's elite fields took off in
drastically different fashion. The men shot out of the start on world
record pace with 2008 Olympic gold medalist Sammy Wanjiru (KEN) following
closely behind four pacers. Hanging off Wanjiru's shoulder until shortly
after the 35K were fellow countrymen Vincent Kipruto (KEN) and Charles
Munyeki (KEN). Just as Wanjiru picked up his cadence, Kipruto and Munyeki
were chased down by Morocco's Abderrahim Goumri. Goumri held on to finish
second and outkick Kipruto, 2:06:04 to 2:06:08, respectively.
The storyline of the day, however, belonged to 22 year-old Wanjiru.
Rounding the final turn onto Columbus Drive, Wanjiru eclipsed Khalid
Khannouchi's 1999 course record of 2:05:42 by one second to finish
officially in 2:05:41. Wanjiru claimed the $75,000 prize purse for overall
winner and took home an additional $100,000 for breaking the course record.
Wanjiru's time is the fastest time recorded on American soil. At the age of
22 years 335 days, Wanjiru is the youngest runner with three World Marathon
Unlike the blistering pace of the men's race, the women's race went out at
a much slower pace with the women's field content to follow American Tera
Moody through the first 10K. On a day ripe for the record books, the
women's field ran well off Paula Radcliffe's 2002 course record of 2:17:18;
it took Teyba Erkesso's (ETH) bold move shortly before the half to wake up
the women's field. After Erkesso charged to the front, the women's pace
dropped to sub 2:30.
While Erkesso demanded a race from the field, it was Russian Liliya
Shobukhova, running in just her second marathon, who took home first place.
Shobukhova finished in 2:25:56, with Germany's Irina Mikitenko second in
2:26:31 and 2008 Bank of America Chicago Marathon champion Lidiya
Grigoryeva (RUS) third in 2:26:47. Erkesso hung on for fourth while
American record holder, Deena Kastor, finished sixth in 2:28:50.
The men's wheelchair competition welcomed Australia's Kurt Fearnley back to
the podium for the third time. Fearnley finished a little over a minute
outside of his course record in 1:29:09. On the women's side, newcomer
Tatyana McFadden (USA) beat two-time champ Amanda McGrory (USA) in one of
the closet wheelchair finishes in Chicago Marathon history. The top five
women finished within three seconds of each other, with McFadden capturing
the victory in 1:50:47.
In the debut Nike Northside/Southside Challenge, a high school invitational
held on the final 2.6 miles of the marathon race course, Lincoln Way
Central runner Kyle Counter beat a field of 71 competitors to finish 52
seconds ahead of second place in 13:35. The women's champion from Luther
North, Stephanie Simpson, won in 16:01, 19 seconds ahead of second place.
Fifty seven high school girls competed in today's race.