Shobukhova becomes first person to three-peat Chicago Marathon

October 9, 2011

The Associated Press

(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Runners take off at the starting line of Sunday's Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

Authorities say a 35-year-old male runner who collapsed during the Chicago Marathon is dead.

Race medical director Dr. George Chiampas said the North Carolina man collapsed about 500 yards from the finish line. He said medical personnel were able to get his heart beating again but he died 1 hour, 45 minutes after he was attended to at the race.

Chicago police spokesman Darryl Baety said the runner collapsed to the ground around 10:30 a.m. while running on city's near South Side. Police said he was pronounced dead at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center around noon Sunday.

A spokesperson for the Cook County medical examiner's office said an autopsy is planned for Monday.

Meanwhile, Kenya's Moses Mosop set a course record in winning the Chicago Marathon on Sunday and Russia's Liliya Shobukhova claimed the women's title to become the first athlete — male or female — to win the race three years in a row.

Both runners had no trouble pulling away from the pack on a warm morning to claim their $100,000 prizes. Mosop earned another $50,000 for finishing in 2 hours, 5 minutes, 37 seconds and breaking Sammy Wanjiru's course mark by 4 seconds.

But there also was another death just four years after a Michigan man with a heart condition died. Authorities say a 35-year-old North Carolina man collapsed about 500 yards from the finish line Sunday morning and was pronounced dead at Mercy Hospital.

The race-time temperature was 64 degrees (17.78 Celsius) and reached the high 70s during the afternoon, the fourth time in five years the weather was unusually warm.

After the 2007 marathon, organizers improved communication between various agencies and the runners. They also added more water distribution points and medical aid stations.

The man's death was announced hours after impressive performances by Mosop and Shobukhova.

"My shape was bad. I was worried about my leg," said Mosop, who's been bothered by a left Achilles tendon problem.

That didn't prevent a record performance. That didn't prevent a record performance. Mosop easily beat countrymen Wesley Korir (2:06:15) and Bernard Kipyego (2:06:29), with Ethiopia's Bekana Daba (2:07:59) and American Ryan Hall (2:08:04) rounding out the top five.

Shobukhova also made it look easy in becoming the first the first runner to win three straight titles in Chicago, clocking in at 2:18:20. She was about a minute off Paula Radcliffe's course mark of 2:17:18 set in 2002 and outclassed the rest of the field. Ejegayehu Dibaba of Ethiopia took second in 2:22:09 and Japan's Kayoko Fukushi third in 2:24:38.

Shobukhova outclassed the field on Sunday, with Ejegayehu Dibaba of Ethiopia taking second in 2:22:09 and Japan's Kayoko Fukushi third in 2:24:38. The Russian also probably secured an Olympic berth. Her country's federation will select its team based on the two fastest times posted between Sept. 1 and the end of the year.

"I'm overwhelmed right now," said Shobukhova, who earned an additional $40,000 for finishing in under 2:20. "You're happy. You're excited. You're shocked."

Mosop, meanwhile, was spectacular again after a string of impressive performances, raising his arms and pointing toward the crowd as he crossed the finish line at Grant Park.

He ran the second-fastest 42 kilometers in history in his debut at the Boston Marathon this year, but finished behind fellow Kenyan Geoffrey Mutai in 2:03:06 with a tailwind on a course that doesn't meet specifications for world records. He then set the world mark in the 30,000 meters at the Prefontaine Classic in June, but his Achilles issue limited his training during the summer.

Even so, Mosop was hoping to break the course record of 2:05:41 set by the late Wanjiru in 2009, when he won the first of two straight Chicago Marathons. He did just that despite estimating that he was only about 85 percent.

If he was completely healed?

"Maybe I'd run in 2:02," he said.

That's something no one has done, but it's hard to argue with Mosop the way he's been performing.

Nicknamed "Big Engine" for his powerful technique, Mosop didn't flinch when Korir made a move to break from a five-man pack and led through 18 miles. Instead, he came on like an express train and left everyone else behind.

"I knew that if I had to make a move, now was the time to make a move," Korir said. "I saw an opportunity, and I was like, 'You know what? I'm going to go.'"

Mosop, however, went with him, and then, in a flash, he was the one taking control.

"I wasn't surprised when he came back," Korir said. "At that moment, I was like, 'OK, I'm going to try to stay behind him,' but he kept going."

There were 45,000 runners registered and 37,400 made the start on a day that seemed made for hanging out by the lake if not running 26.2 miles.

The race-time temperature was 64 degrees and expected to reach about 80 during the day, the fourth time in five years the weather was unusually warm, but race officials were confident they had the proper procedures in place to prevent and handle any emergencies.

A Michigan man with a heart condition died four years ago, but since then, organizers have improved communication between various agencies and the runners. They've also added more water distribution points and medical aid stations.

"Today was humid," Mosop said. "I enjoyed the course very much."