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Kenya’s Birgid Kosgei crosses the finish line to win the 2019 Chicago Marathon in new world record time

Athletics

Chicago Marathon cancelled over virus fears

LOS ANGELES, United States, Jul 13 – World record holder Brigid Kosgei’s hope of a third consecutive Chicago Marathon title have been quashed after organizers moved to cancel the race scheduled for October 11 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kosgei won the Chicago race in 2018 and 2019 and had hoped to fight for a three-peat this season as well as use the chance to build up for next year’s Olympics.

Her title victory in 2019 also came through as the new world record, cutting the tape in 2hrs, 14 minutes, 04 seconds.

Kenya bagged a double in last year’s race with Lawrence Cherono, also in Kenya’s Marathon team for the Tokyo Olympics, winning the men’s race.

This is the first time in 33 years that the Marathon will not be staged. It was cancelled in 1987 due to lack of sponsorship.

The decision to cancel the Chicago Marathon had been largely expected, with several other major marathons around the world already suffering the same fate because of the pandemic.

“The Chicago Marathon is our city’s beloved annual celebration of more than 45,000 runners, as well as tens of thousands of volunteers, spectators and city residents,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.

“Like all Chicagoans, I’m personally disappointed that this year’s event won’t take place as originally planned; however, we look forward to welcoming all runners and their cheering squads once again when the Chicago Marathon returns to our city in full force for another very exciting race.”

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Race director Carey Pinkowski said the decision had been taken with the safety of participants and volunteers in mind.

“We understand the disappointment, but when we return to the streets of Chicago, it will be a celebratory moment and an uncompromising statement about the collective spirit of who we are as a running community: We are powerful, we are persistent, and we will reach the finish line again,” Pinkowski said.

Chicago becomes the latest of the World Marathon majors to be cancelled after Boston, initially pushed to September from April was also cancelled.

Both the Berlin and New York, which were originally scheduled for later this year have been cancelled. Only one major marathon has been staged, the Tokyo Marathon in March, but was only open to elite athletes.

At the moment, only the London Marathon remains as major hope with the richest 42km in the world set to go down on October 4, having been initially scheduled for April 26 but was pushed due to the virus.

World record holder Eliud Kipchoge and Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele, the second fastest ever man in the race are set to duel in the eagerly anticipated race.

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