[ribbon toplink=true]Kipchoge and Kiptoo win Chicago 2014[/ribbon]
Eliud Kipchoge has won his first Major Marathon title, beating a quality field in 2:04:11. The head to head battle between Kipchoge never materialized, the Ethiopian dropped by a Sammy Kitwara-initiated surge shortly after 30km. He would finish 4th, 1:40 down, with much to think about moving forward in his marathon career.
Kipchoge, meanwhile, had no peer. He was accompanied to 40km by Kitwara, and Tokyo champion Dixon Chumba, but then surged and quickly opened up a gap of about 6 seconds. That grew to 17s by the finish, and Kitwara and Chumba were both rewarded with PBs (2:04:28 and 2:04:32). The second half was run in 61:59, following a first half of 62:12, and the damage was done over the final 10km, with 14:34 and 14:32 splits.
It was Kipchoge’s day, and he looked controlled and comfortable the whole way. He now has a range of times between 2:04:05 and 2:05:30, and a Major win. When we tested some elite Kenyans, almost all of them said that Kipchoge is THE runner back home, along with Kimetto. The way he won this suggests he can go faster, and hopefully he hits London next year and matches himself against that company in the Spring.
On the women’s side, the pace was never spectactacular, until Rita Jeptoo surged at 35km. Having run consistently between 17:10 and 17:30 per 5km, she dropped a 16:37 to get rid of the attentions of Florence Kiplagat, then the two Dibabas of Ethiopia. Her winning time is nothing outrageous (there was talk of a 2:18), but Jeptoo did what was necessary to not only win the race, but the overall Major Marathon title and a total payday of over $1 million.
Second was Mare Dibaba of Ethiopia, while Kiplagat faded over the final 2km to finish third.
As for the TV coverage, the less said the better. The weather lady got about as much air time as the elite races, and both the decisive moves were missed in the men’s race, and the decisive move in the women’s. They didn’t know who the wheelchair winner was, didn’t follow Bekele (the race’s big drawcard) after he was dropped, and generally botched the coverage in a way that even the South African Broadcaster would be ashamed of. Hopefully New York, in a few weeks, will be better.
Below are the splits, and my thoughts as the race unfolded.
[ribbon toplink=true]Men’s splits[/ribbon]
5km – 14:44 (2:57/km), projecting 2:04:12
10km – 29:31 (last 5km in 14:47, at 2:57/km). Now projecting 2:04:33.
15km – 44:16 (14:45 for the last 5km, at 2:57/km). Projecting 2:04:31
20km – 59:03 (14:47 for the last 5km, at 2:57/km). Projecting 2:04:35, so it’s very steady.
Halfway – 1:02:12. Projects 2:04:24
25km – 1:13:43 (last 5km in 14:40, at 2:56/km). Forecast is 2:04:25
30km – 1:28:47 (last 5km in 15:04, at 3:01/km). Course record is gone now, the forecast is 2:04:52, over a minute slower
35km – 1:43:21 (last 5km in 14:34, at 2:55/km). Projects 2:04:36. The group has split, Bekele is dropped.
40km – 1:57:53 (14:32 for last 5km, at 2:55/km). On course for a 2:04:21
Finish – 2:04:11 for Kipchoge, to win by 17s from Kitwara.
[ribbon toplink=true]Men’s race comments[/ribbon]
So 4:36 for the first mile, but let’s not get carried away just yet. If anything, too aggressive early will cost them later. Nine men, all East Africans. No surprise there.
14:44 for the top men, so it settled after the fast first mile. Little to say right now. It projects 2:04:12, but then this early, if it wasn’t fast there’d be something wrong.
29:31, so 14:47 for the last 5km. It’s slowed ever so slightly, now projecting 2:04:33. The broadcast keeps saying how perfect the weather is – temperature is around 10 celsius, which I actually think is a little bit too cold early on. Also, there seemed to be a bit of wind about, judging from the broadcaster’s hair, which gave more valuable information than she did. We’ll see how it pans out, but they’re not quite on course record pace here.
44:16 for the leaders, and the last 5km in 14:45, so the pace is really steady. This section is, apparently, into a headwind, so the effort has been ramped up to maintain that pace. That has told, because the group has begun to split a little, with men just dangling off the back.
They’ve reached halfway in 62:12. They’ve ramped it up a little since 20km, so the next 5km split will be of interest. Kipchoge and Bekele still look very comfortable. I feel it’s a little too cold, with a breeze, to have run fast early. The sun is out and it’s warming, and that combined with the caliber of the top five men suggests a quick second half. When they’ll surge is the question. Two pacemakers remain, so presumably one will survive until 30km and then it’ll be open.
Still very consistent pace, 14:40 for the last 5km. So the range has been 14:40 to 14:47 for each 5km split, that’s really consistent. Two pacemakers have eight racers for company, hard to tell who is going to drop off first. Bekele is at the back of the group, perhaps watching the condition of the other runners. Lilesa is the biggest name NOT in the group, though he’s within 10m of them, and has been hanging on for the last 15km. He is a good barometer for the pace of the race – they sped up very slightly over the last 5km and get gap was created, and now he’s rejoined, so it has presumably slowed again. Keep an eye on that.
1:28:47 for the lead men, and that last 5km is by far the slowest of the race at 15:04. That must be the effect of the wind, which they turned into a short while ago. Given all the weather forecasts we’ve been getting, it’s amazing that none of the commentary has recognized it. The gap between first and tenth in that lead group is 3 seconds, so they are more or less together. The race starts now.
Mens’ race has broken up and Bekele has been dropped in a big way. Kipchoge is pushing the pace, along with Sammy Kitwara and Dixon Chumba. We haven’t seen the race for about 20 minutes, and now we are talking about the weather again. What a broadcast. We’ve seen the weather lady more than the elite races. The gap was created courtesy a 14:34 5km split, which is the fastest of the race, and substantially faster than the previous 5km segment. It’s surprising that Bekele has been dropped off this pace though.
Dixon Chumba is the man who won Tokyo earlier this year, having previously been Martin Lel’s gardener before presumably deciding he’d like to own his own garden. Kipchoge we know – consistent and fast, and now the favorite, while Kitwara has one of the fastest half marathon man ever and early in his transition to the marathon. He has a 2:05:16 best, so these three are credentialed. Bekele has been dropped and is 13 seconds down. That’s not insurmountable but he wouldn’t be there if had good legs today.
Kipchoge, Kitwara and Chumba remain clear. Kitwara has been the aggressor, in so far as running in the front goes. Kipchoge does look very comfortable still, happy to run aside Kitwara rather than behind. The commentators are making the classic error of assuming that because Kipchoge had a great track career, he’ll have the leg speed at the finish. That kind of forgets the 40km run so far, and didn’t exactly help Bekele when a small surge dropped him. It’s difficutl to know who will have speed over the final kilometers.
And now Kipchoge has gone clear! At 40km, he has a lead over Kitwara of about 20m, with Chumba further back. As usual, we missed the break, but apparently he got really aggressive and opened the gap within a hundred meters, so he clearly feels good and is on course to win this race. The last 2km are going to be super fast. Even the last 5km were fast – 14:32. Sometimes guys attack and then pay for it, but it’s not going to happen today. Bekele, meanwhile, is a minute down, and so has slowed to 15:30 for 5km, which is surprising.
Kipchoge has won in 2:04:11. It’s his first Major Marathon win, but he’s a real player on the global scene by virtue of his consistency at crazy-fast paces. Sammy Kitwara held on for second in a PB of 2:04:28, and Chumba in third at 2:04:32 (also a PB). So it was fast today, but not quite as fast as last year. That’s probably down to a) too cold early, and b) too breezy.
The second half was run in 61:59, following a 62:12 first half. Kipchoge was the class of the field and the one-on-one battle with Bekele didn’t materialize. From the moment Kitwara attacked between 30 and 35km, Bekele was gapped, and was 13 s down at 35km. By 40km, he was 1:05 down, and lost a further 35s in the final 2km. That’s a significant fade from Bekele, who ended up with a 2:05:51, which is not bad, but says that a lot needs to happen before the predictions that he’ll go under 2:03 by his fourth race. The marathon can be unforgiving.
Kipchoge, meanwhile, now has a range of times between 2:04:05 and 2:05:30, and a Major win. When we tested some elite Kenyans, almost all of them said that Kipchoge is THE runner back home, along with Kimetto. The way he won this suggests he can go faster, and hopefully he hits London next year and matches himself against that company in the Spring.
[ribbon toplink=true]Women’s splits[/ribbon]
5km – 17:15 (3:27/km), projecting 2:25:34
10km – 34:31 (17:16 for the last 5km), projecting 2:25:39. Amy Hastings leading by 15s, but the favorites are just behind. Slow pace.
15km – 51:42 (17:11 for the last 5km). Projects 2:25:26. The east Africans have now bridged up to Hastings. The pace is sure to ramp up significantly after halfway, so expect a big negative split.
20km – 1:08:57 (last 5km in 17:15), projecting 2:25:28.
Halfway – 1:12:35. Forecasts a 2:25:10
25km – 1:25:52. Last 5km in 16:55, so the pace has increased. Four women in the lead group, Kiplagat and Jeptoo of Kenya, and two Dibabas of Ethiopia.
30km – 1:43:27. Last 5km very slow again, 17:35 (same segment that the men slowed in). Projects 2:25:30. Same four at the front17
35km – 2:00:45. Last 5km in 17:18. Same four at the front
40km – 2:17:22, with a 5km segment of 16:34. The fastest of the race, enough to drop all challengers.
Finish – 2:24:35, which gives Jeptoo a second half of 1:12, not even a huge negative split and overall a relatively ‘easy’ day for Jeptoo.