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Kosgei sets new PB to win Chicago Marathon

Brigid Kosgei celebrates after winning the 2018 Chicago Marathon. PHOTO/AFP

CHICAGO, USA, Oct 7 – Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei raced away to an incredible win at the Chicago Marathon on Sunday, shedding off nearly two minutes off her personal best to win the race in two hours, 18 minutes and 25 seconds.

Kosgei, 24, who finished second last year broke away with a huge lead near the end of the race, far outpacing her closest competitor, Ethiopia’s Roza Dereje.

“I feel OK because last year I was position two. Today I had a bit of an injury but I broke my time. I was injured but the problem, the injury, I swallowed the pain,” an excited Kosgei said after the race.

The 24-year old wowed fans last year with a second place finish in Chicago, running the sixth fastest time ever run in the Windy City race. She said she enjoyed the rain that fell on runners during this year’s race.

-Enjoy rain

“I enjoy when I see the rain. I feel like I enjoy the race more when it’s raining than when it’s not,” she added.

She opened her 2018 season with a boom, finishing second in London. With Sunday’s race, Kosgei has finished first or second in eight of her nine career marathons.

She was among seven African runners that pulled ahead by more than 70 seconds after the first 5km and doubled that margin by the 10km mark. Kosegi surged ahead by 45 seconds at 35km and stretched her lead to the finish line.

Dereje led an Ethiopian 2-3 finish coming home second in two hours, 21 mionutes and 18 seconds while compatriot Shure Demise finished third in two hours, 22 minutes and 15 seconds.

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Two-time champion Florence Kiplagat, returning to competition after dropping out of last year’s race with a thigh injury, was fourth, 7:33 adrift.

Meanwhile, Britain’s Mo Farah won the men’s race with a spectacular finishing surge, shattering the European record to serve notice his distance-racing dominance is far from over.

In only his third marathon start, Farah crossed the finish line in 2hr 5min 11sec in cool and rainy conditions to defeat Ethiopia’s Mosinet Geremew by 13sec with Japan’s Suguru Osako third in 2:05:50.

-Kirui fade

The world and Olympic 5,000 and 10,000-meter champion, who switched to the marathon distance a year ago, became the first British man to win at Chicago since Paul Evans in 1996.

Kenya’s Geoffrey Kirui, who won the 2017 Boston Marathon and World Marathon Championships crowns, faded before 40km to set up the final duel.

Farah smashed the former European mark of 2:05:48 set by Norwegian Sondre Nordstad Moen in Fukuoka last December and easily improved on his former British record and personal best of 2:06:22 from a third-place showing at London in April.

The 35-year-old Somalia-born Briton stayed with the lead pack most of the race, fell back at 30 kilometers but charged directly back among the leaders then outlasted every rival to the finish, dispatching Geremew with a strong closing kick.

In the first major marathon since Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge smashed the world record in Berlin last month with a time of 2:01:39, Farah stole the show in what was billed as a battle with his former training partner, 2017 Chicago winner Galen Rupp of the United States.

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-Windy conditions

Farah and Rupp weathered the wet and windy conditions that greeted 45,000 runners, hanging in a pack behind the pacesetters that battled early headwinds.

Rupp and Farah, who once trained together in Oregon under Alberto Salazar, stayed together until the American slowed at 35km and slipped from the lead pace.

Rupp, who still trains with Salazar, finished fifth, 70 seconds off Farah’s time and 24 seconds adrift of fourth place Kenneth Kipkemoi of Kenya.

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