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Chicago Marathon: Big day for Ethiopians in men's, women's races

October 08, 2012|By Chuck Schilken
  • Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia wins the men's race at the Chicago Marathon in record time; Atsede Baysa of Ethiopia, right, edges Rita Jeptoo of Kenya in the women's race.
Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia wins the men's race at the Chicago Marathon… (Paul Beaty / Associated…)

It had been 10 years since a man from anywhere but Kenya had won the Chicago Marathon -- and even longer for a runner from Ethiopia to have the fastest finish in the event.

Infinitely longer.

Tsegaye Kebede ended all of that Sunday when he became the first Ethiopian runner in the 35-year history of the race to win the men's event -- and he did so in record fashion. His time of 2 hours, 4 minutes, 38 seconds eclipsed both the previous course record of 2:05:37 set by Kenya's Moses Mosop last year and his own prior personal best time of 2:05:18.

He was followed across the finish line by two more Ethiopians, Feyisa Lilesa (2:04:52) and Tilahun Regassa (2:05:28). Kebede, the first runner not from Kenya to win the race since Khalid Khannouchi of the U.S. back in 2002, waved to the smattering of Ethiopian flags he saw down the stretch.

“This is a great day for us, for Ethiopia, especially,” said Kebede, who also won the London Marathon in 2010 and finished second in Chicago the same year.

It was a great day for the country on the women's side as well, as Ethiopia's Atsede Baysa finished in 2:22:03 to edge runner-up Rita Jeptoo of Kenya by one second. Three-time defending champion Liliya Shobukhova of Russia took fourth.

The winners each received $100,000, with Kebede getting an extra $50,000 for setting the course record and Baysa earning another $10,000 for finishing under 2:24:00.


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