Monday, October 12, 2009

Just-In-Time Economics for Wanjiru!

Sammy Wanjiru of Kenya easily was the class of the field on Sunday at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. On a cold day, Wanjiru won it in an event-record 2:05:41, ONE second ahead of Khalid Khannouchi's previous mark set in 1999, also run in chilly weather, but not temps this cold. Not knowing the Chicago record (shades of Steve Jones back in 1984), Wanjiru unintentionally cut it close, waving to the crowd while motoring in on Columbus Drive. He made it though, and in addition to the $75,000 for first place, he earned another $100,000 for the course record. Of course, he also gets maybe $250,000 in hidden appearance fees. Mr. Runner-up Abderrahim Goumri of Morocco took second in a tactical run that got him across the line in 2:06:04. Third went to touted Kenyan Vincent Kipruto, who was in at 2:06:08. I'm sure you know the strategies and drama already. It was nice to see Chicago back on marathoning's main stage. I must say that having seen Berlin's course on TV last week, I'm not sure Chicago's layout is as fast. I admire Sammy for trying to break Haile G's 2:03:59 world record set in 2008 at Berlin, but maybe this course isn't fast enough. We won't know for at least another year. And kudos to Russian Liliya Shobukhova, who made all the right moves at the right time to win a tactical race for the ladies in 2:25:56. Germany's Irina Mikitenko (born in Russia) took second in 2:26:31 to sew up the World Marathon Majors' two-year title that ends with New York on Nov. 1. Third went to Russian and 2008 Chicago champion Lidiya Grigoryeva in 2:26:47. One-year plus after her Olympic foot injury, American Deena Kastor was 10 minutes off her real goal, and finished sixth in 2:28:50. Chicago-area native (Batavia and then St. Charles High School) Tera Moody led the first 10K and wound up ninth in 2:32:59, a PR, I believe. Back on the men's side, here's a salute to Schaumburg native Patrick Rizzo, who was 10th overall in 2:15:48! Hats off to locals Jeff Jonaitis (15th. in 2:18:01), Lars Juhl (thanks, Denmark -- 22nd in 2:20:05) and Chad Ware (24th in 2:20:47). Many others of both genders and all ages ran and rolled excellent races. It was a good day to run for the 34,792 starters and a great way for executive race director Carey Pinkowski to enjoy his 20th year in charge of the race.

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