The Kenyan ran the fastest marathon ever on U.S. soil.
Written by: David Monti
(c) 2011 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.
CHICAGO — Although both he and his coach, Renato Canova, insisted that an Achilles injury from over the summer had left him at only “85%” fitness, Kenya’s Moses Mosop nonetheless ran away from the field in the second half of the race to break the late Samuel Wanjiru’s two year-old course record by four seconds, clocking 2:05:37 and winning the Bank of America Chicago Marathon this morning.
Mosop, 26, the IAAF world record holder for 25,000m and 30,000m on the track, survived the race’s first big surge just past the halfway mark (1:02:54), which dropped American hopeful, Ryan Hall, and cut the lead pack of contenders to five. The 14th mile was covered in 4:36, part of a pattern of somewhat jerky pacemaking, Hall said.
“The pacers would see a slow split on the back of the truck then hit it,” Hall contended. “I think our splits were all over the place.” He added: “It was kind of taking me out of my rhythm.”
The five contenders –Kenya’s Mosop, Wesley Korir, Bernard Kipyego, and Evans Cheruiyot, and Ethiopia’s Bekana Daba– were running in a tight bunch behind the last of three pacers, Ethiopia’s Tillahun Regassa. Korir, the two-time Los Angeles Marathon champion, decided at the 30K fluid station that it was time to break up the race.
“If I was going to finish on the podium, I had to do something,” said Korir, the former NCAA star at the University of Louisville. “At the moment I was feeling really good. I just saw an opportunity, I’m going to go. If they come for me, they come for me, but I’m going to go.”
Korir’s move was explosive, and in a few seconds the pack was strung out and Korir had a 20 meter lead (he ran 4:38 for the 19th mile). But Mosop was quick to respond, and soon caught up.
“I knew I was awakening a lion that was asleep,” Korir lamented.
Mosop soon left Korir, and held the kind of pace that few men are capable of. He had already 14:31 from 25 to 30K, then cut down to 14:29 from 30K to 35K. The lion was fully awake.
“I tried to go ahead, then I say someone will follow me and we can go together,” Mosop explained. “Then I say, let me try to push.”
Although he slowed in final kilometers, he had already put the race out of reach. His time was the fastest ever on U.S. soil on a record-quality course (all-comers record). He won $100,000 in prize money, plus a $50,000 bonus for breaking the course record, in addition to his appearance fee and any side bonuses. Mosop said he thinks he can go faster.
“When I was 100% I run 2:02,” he said matter of factly. “One hundred percent.”
Korir, who had fallen behind Kipyego, battled back to get second in a two-minute personal best of 2:06:15. Kipyego got third in 2:06:29, also a personal best, and Daba fourth (2:07:59). Hall held on for fifth in 2:08:04, the third-fastest time of his career.
“I’m happy with that,” Hall told reporters. “My third best marathon ever. I thought I was in better shape than that.”