Chicago marathon 2012

Tsegaye Kebede crossed the finish line in Grant Park on Sunday with his country on his mind. He raised his arms, gave thumbs up to the crowd and took in the applause as he became the first Ethiopian man to win the Chicago Marathon, setting a course record in the process.
“It was a great day for us, for Ethiopia especially” – Kebede said. “It’s very important for us.”
Kebede was the headliner, but not the only Ethiopian on the podium after covering the 26,2-mile Chicago course — a predominantly flat and fast run through 29 of the city’s neighborhoods. Kenya had won the men’s race nine straight years, punctuated by a sweep of the top three positions last year. The Ethiopians turned the trick Sunday, with Feyisa Lilesa finishing second and Tilahun Regassa third. Ethiopia also won the women’s race, when Atsede Baysa edged Kenya’s Rita Jeptoo at the finish.
Kebede (25) separated himself from a pack of East African runners with Lilesa at around the 23-mile mark. Kebede gradually pulled ahead of Lilesa in the last mile and a half and pushed across the finish line 14 seconds ahead.

Chicago marathon 2012
Chicago marathon.

Rita Jeptoo raised her arms in celebration as she crossed the finish line of the Chicago Marathon, yet the Kenyan said she knew she had been edged by a woman she repeatedly called her friend.
In a battle to the finish that tied the closest finish in women’s Chicago Marathon history, Ethiopia’s Atsede Baysa won the 26,2-mile event on a chilly Sunday morning in 2 hours, 22 minutes, 3 seconds. Despite the rare near-photo finish, Baysa was just as confident in the result as she battled back during the final stretch for a one-second advantage.
“I knew she was just behind me” – Baysa (25) said. “I knew that I won the race.”
It was not so clear to spectators who would win the race as the runners calculated their final moves.
The Chicago Marathon lists a one-second difference only occurring previously in 1999, but this race appeared to be decided in the narrowest of margins.
The two runners separated themselves in the final 5 kilometers from a pack that had included about six runners for much of the race.

Twenty miles in, Federico Chalela was convinced that Sunday’s Bank of America Chicago Marathon, his first, would also be his last.
But 6,2 miles later, Chalela reunited with his girlfriend on the Grant Park lawn, put a bag of ice on his left knee and reconsidered.
“Now that I made it” – he said, “I think I’m going to do another one.”
Chalela, of Bogota, Colombia, was one of about 45.000 competitors — including Olympians, wounded soldiers and senior citizens crossing an item off the bucket list — who ran through Chicago’s streets on a chilly Sunday.
Some of the world’s fastest men and women were on hand wearing national team uniforms, but the vast majority of runners were racing only for themselves.
Most made it through the race just fine. But at least 10 were taken to Mercy Hospital & Medical Center, including a 47-year-old man who had a heart problem near mile 21 – race officials said. As of Sunday evening, the man was in stable condition, officials said. Nine others were transported to the hospital with minor injuries.

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