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Saturday, December 4, 2021

Ruth Chepngetich and Seifi Tura Won in Chicago as the Marathon Returned

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After waiting nearly two years for America’s three major marathons to return, runners and fans alike were greeted with back-to-back spectacles, with Chicago leading the way on Sunday and Boston picking up the pace on Monday.

The Chicago marathon was a smaller-scale version of what is among the six largest marathons in the world — but one that still lived up to its reputation as being one of the fastest.

Some 33,000 runners started and finished the race in Grant Park under humid conditions, with temperatures reaching well into the 70s. Ruth Chepngetich of Kenya was on pace to break the world record before settling for a dominant win, finishing in 2 hours 22:31 minutes. Seifi Tura of Ethiopia won the men’s race in 2 hours 06:12 minutes. Both are solid times given the uncomfortable conditions.

It was also a fairly impressive day for the Americans. Emma Bates and Sara Hall finished in second and third place among the women, and Galen Rupp finished second among the men.

As is often the case in big city races though, much of the attention fell to the more than 30,000 participants and the tens of thousands of people who watched them, giving the country a glimpse of what things used to look like.

Chepngetich clearly has a talent for winning in warmer weather. She won the marathon at the world championships in Doha in 2019. That race had to be run at night to avoid the most severe temperatures, but still only 40 of the 68 runners finished the race in the 90-degree heat.

Boston should provide a little more comfort Monday, although temperatures will be in the high 60s and runners will be headed into a 10 mile-per-hour wind from the northeast.

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