Runners Brave Heat and Humidity at Sunday’s Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon
Chicago, Ill. – July 19, 2015 – It takes courage and determination to complete any road race no matter the distance, and today a special kind of runner was on the streets of Chicago. Thousands of brave competitors toed the line at the Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon and 10K where hot and humid summer conditions, exceeding 80 degrees Fahrenheit with over 70 percent humidity, presented a unique challenge on the streets of the “Windy City.” But the rewards, taking on the city’s incredible skyline and seeing all the scenery that makes Chicago famous, were well worth it for all participants.
Boulder, Colorado’s Jeffery Eggleston was the first half-marathon runner to break the tape on Sunday, clocking 65 minutes and 5 seconds for the 13.1 miles—a relatively slow winning time for the seasoned pro who has represented the United States in at the IAAF World Championships and will be part of the U.S. marathon squad next month in Beijing.
Twenty-six-year-old old Zach Ripley of Rockford, Michigan came in second over two minutes behind Eggleston (1:07:58), and Chicago’s own Kevin Havel rounded out the podium with a third-place finish in 1:08:14. Eggleston, the 2014 Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon Grand Prix champion, won this race back in 2013 and fellow Boulder runner and training mate Andy Wacker won it last year.
“Andy and I had this unspoken agreement that if I was coming out to Chicago, we had to keep the title in Boulder,” said Eggleston, who made a decisive move after half mile into the race and never looked back. “I’m not afraid to lead a race wire-to-wire.”
Eggleston said he wanted to “keep [his] foot on the gas,” today since he’s gearing up for the World Championships next month. “I wanted to push myself and need to learn how to run hard in the humidity. I need to train myself how to run in difficult conditions. I’m not the best heat runner, but I’m getting better at it. This is great prep.”
The women’s half marathon was a decisive affair thanks to a commanding performance by Maegan Krifchin who came across the finish line on the Chicago waterfront in a blazing 1:15:17—a full two minutes faster than her nearest rival, Yihunlish Bekele who took second in 1:17:33. Third place was awarded to Chirine Njeim of Chicago who ran 1:21:19.
“It was a solid day,” said Silver Spring, Maryland resident Krifchin a former standout at Syracuse University and second-place finisher at the 2012 U.S. Half Marathon Championships. “I wanted to win it coming into the race.” Krifchin said afterward that this was her first “big, big, 20,000+-runner road race win” and that she was excited about her performance.
“It obviously wasn’t a big PR-type of day,” she admitted. “I just wanted to compete and push myself. I wanted to be comfortable running uncomfortably,” she said. The 27-year-old had never been to Chicago before and was pleased to win a race her first time there.
For Krifchin, Sunday’s race was a “rust buster”. In the late April, she debuted in her first marathon in Hamburg, Germany. Her main focus in the fall is to train for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon. Krifchin has run one other Rock ‘n’ Roll race before (Philly in 2011) and says the Rock ‘n’ Roll races are always fun with all the music. “These races are always well organized and fun all around,” she said with a smile.
A 10K was also held in conjunction with the half marathon. The women’s winner, Dawn Grunnagle of Dallas, Texas, finished in first place overall (37:12), Chicago resident Nico Farr, who came through as the first male in 37:34.
2014 Boston Marathon champ Meb Keflezighi paced the 1:30 half-marathon group, taking the Remix Challenge by also completing Saturday’s Rock ‘n’ Roll 5k. Throughout the weekend, runners got a real treat along the scenic course that looped through the towering skyscrapers that define Chicago and finished along the beautiful Lake Michigan waterfront. True to all Rock ‘n’ Roll races, bands and cheer teams, and dance squads gave competitors something to smile about.
After joining Taylor Swift on stage at Soldier Field Saturday night, Andy Grammer serenaded runners and their families at the Toyota Rock ‘n’ Roll headliner concert at Chicago’s beautiful Grant Park—capping off the end to a spectacular summer day in Chicago.
Half Marathon Results
Place, Name, Age, Hometown, Time
1. Jeffrey Eggleston, 30, Boulder, CO, 1:05:05
2. Zach Ripley, 26, Rockford, MI, 1:07:58
3. Kevin Havel, 25, Chicago, IL, 1:08:14
1. Maegan Krifchin, 27, Silver Spring, MD, 1:15:17
2. Yihunlish, Bekele, 33, Silver Spring, MD, 1:17:33
3. Chirine Njeim, 30, Chicago, IL, 1:21:19