London Bound Olympians Pass Final Exam at XSport Fitness Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon
Mexico’s Daniel Vargas Sanchez and Poland’s Karolina Jarzynska take home titles; 4th annual event welcomes 20,000 entrants; Headliner Cobra Starship rocks for celebrity participants including television personalities Kate Gosslen and Dr. Andy Baldwin, Super Bowl Champion Roger Craig and NASCAR driver Nelson Piquet Jr.
“This was my first time in Chicago and running was a great way to see the city. The course is perfect, it’s very flat and fast,” said Jarzynska, who pulled away from Kenyan Pauline Thitu at 3 miles and ran uncontested to the finish line. “This is my final test before the Olympic Marathon in two weeks and I’m excited to begin my final preparations, it will be my first time competing at the Olympic Games.”
The pace of the men’s race was set early by Sanchez’s Olympic teammate Carlos Cordero Gómez, along with Kenyans Edward Tabut, 29 and Geofrey Terer, 34. They lead a pack of 7 runners through two miles in 9:45, hitting the 5k split in 15:17. The lead pack stayed together through 10k in 30:44, but as the course turned down Michigan Ave along Grant Park, Sanchez gradually took control, and by Mile 8 he had victory comfortably in hand.
The event attracted more than 20,000 entrants to downtown Chicago, including NASCAR driver Nelson Piquet Jr., won his first NASCAR Nationwide Series race last month. Piquet drove 225 miles on Saturday night in the American Ethanol 225 Truck Race at Chicagoland and then completed his first half-marathon Sunday morning with a time of 2 hours, 17 minutes and 44 seconds.
“The spectators cheering along the route were amazing,” said Piquet, a 26-year-old Brazilian who had previously completed in a few triathlons. “The 13.1-mile distance was tough after the race last night, I didn’t get much sleep so I just tried to give it the best I could.”
Other notable runners included television personality Dr. Andy Baldwin (1:38:22), who joined Natalie Davila (older sister of U.S. Olympic Marathoner Desi) and more than 350 participants completing the “Rock N’ Mud Challenge” at both Saturday’s Columbia Muddy Buddy Chicago and the XSport Fitness Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon. Sunday’s event also featured a ‘min-marathon’ distance of just over 3 miles, and featured reality television personality Kate Gosselin and former NFL player Roger Craig, a three-time Super Bowl Champion with the San Francisco 49ers.
The event concluded with a post race finish line concert, headlined by “Good Girls Gone Bad” band Cobra Starship in Grant Park.
For complete results, photos and more, visit Competitor.com.