CHICAGO: Britain’s Mo Farah won the Chicago Marathon with a spectacular finishing surge Sunday, shattering the European record to serve notice his distance-racing dominance is far from over.
In only his third marathon start, Farah crossed the finish line in 2hr 5min 11sec in cool and rainy conditions to defeat Ethiopia’s Mosinet Geremew by 13sec with Japan’s Suguru Osako third in 2:05:50.
The world and Olympic 5,000 and 10,000-meter champion, who switched to the marathon distance a year ago, became the first British man to win at Chicago since Paul Evans in 1996.
Farah smashed the former European mark of 2:05:48 set by Norwegian Sondre Nordstad Moen in Fukuoka last December and easily improved on his former British record and personal best of 2:06:22 from a third-place showing at London in April.
The 35-year-old Somalia-born Briton stayed with the lead pack most of the race, fell back at 30 kilometers but charged directly back among the leaders then outlasted every rival to the finish, dispatching Geremew with a strong closing kick.
Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei won the women’s title in 2:18:35, also a personal best. Ethiopia’s Roza Dereje was second in 2:21:18 with compatriot Shure Demise third in 2:22:15.
Two-time champion Florence Kiplagat of Kenya, returning to competition after dropping out of last year’s race with a thigh injury, was fourth, 7:33 adrift.
In the first major marathon since Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge smashed the world record in Berlin last month with a time of 2:01:39, Farah stole the show in what was billed as a battle with his former training partner, 2017 Chicago winner Galen Rupp of the United States.
Farah and Rupp weathered the wet and windy conditions that greeted 45,000 runners, hanging in a pack behind the pacesetters that battled early headwinds.
Rupp and Farah, who once trained together in Oregon under Alberto Salazar, stayed together until the American slowed at 35km and slipped from the lead pace.
Geoffrey Kirui, who won the 2017 Boston Marathon and World Marathon Championships crowns, faded before 40km to set up the final duel.
Rupp, who still trains with Salazar, finished fifth, 70 seconds off Farah’s time and 24 seconds adrift of fourth place Kenneth Kipkemoi of Kenya.
Farah, who wore “Sir Mo” on his race bib, works with Gary Lough, the husband of British star Paula Radcliffe, the 2002 Chicago women’s champion.
For women’s winner Kosgei, it was a breakthrough win after runner-up showings last year in Chicago and this year in London.
She was among seven African runners that pulled ahead by more than 70 seconds after the first 5km and doubled that margin by the 10km mark.
Kosegi, 24, surged ahead by 45 seconds at 35km and stretched her lead to the finish line.