Mo Farah wins Chicago Marathon

Mo Farah (File)
Mo Farah (File)

Chicago - Britain's Mo Farah won the Chicago Marathon with a spectacular finishing surge on Sunday, shattering the European record to serve notice his distance-racing dominance is far from over.

In only his third marathon start, Farah won in 2:05:11 under cool and rainy conditions to defeat Ethiopia's Mosinet Geremew by 13 seconds with Japan's Suguru Osako third in 2:05:50.

"It was amazing to cross the line first," said Farah, who pumped his fists and blew kisses to the crowd as he neared the finish line.

The 2012 and 2016 Olympic and three-time world 5 000m and 10 000m champion, who switched to the marathon distance a year ago, became the first British man to win at Chicago since Paul Evans in 1996.

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.

Farah's marathon debut was an eighth-place showing at London in 2014, his only prior competitive test at the distance until six month ago.

In slick and windy weather that was far from ideal, novice marathoner Farah averaged 4:46 miles and delivered the eighth-best time in Chicago Marathon history.

"The conditions weren't great and everyone was thinking about conditions rather than time," Farah said. 

"But toward the end we picked it up. I felt good toward the end of the race. At the beginning I felt a bit sluggish but overall I'm very happy."

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

Kenya's Brigid Kosgei won the women's title in 2:18:35, also a personal best. Ethiopia's Roza Dereje was second in 2:21:18 with compatriot Shure Demise third in 2:22:15.

Each champion took a top prize of $100 000.

In the first major marathon since Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge smashed the world record in Berlin last month in 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.

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.

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

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.

"I'm happy for Mo to win. He ran unbelievable," Rupp said.

"I ran as hard as I could. At the end of the day I'm not going to look back with any regrets."

Farah, who wore "Sir Mo" on his race bib, works with Gary Lough, the husband of British star Paula Radcliffe, the 2002 Chicago women's champion.

"It was nice to be able to race against Galen," Farah said. "He won last year here and it was nice to be able to come back the following year and win."

For women's winner Kosgei, it was a breakthrough win after runner-up showings last year in Chicago and this year in London.

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, 24, surged ahead by 45 seconds at 35km and stretched her lead to the finish line.

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

Top finishers from Sunday's Chicago Marathon:


1. Mo Farah (GBR) 2hr 5min 11sec, 2. Mosinet Geremew (ETH) 2:05:24, 3. Suguru Osako (JPN) 2:05:50, 4. Kenneth Kipkemoi (KEN) 2:05:57, 5. Galen Rupp (USA) 2:06:21, 6. Geoffrey Kirui (KEN) 2:06:45, 7. Abel Kirui (KEN) 2:07:52, 8. Taku Fujimoto (JPN) 2:07:57, 9. Bedan Karoki (KEN) 2:07:59, 10. Birhanu Legese (ETH) 2:08:41


1. Brigid Kosgei (KEN) 2:18:35, 2. Roza Dereje (ETH) 2:21:18, 3. Shure Demise (ETH) 2:22:15, 4. Florence Kiplagat (KEN) 2:26:08, 5. Veronicah Nyaruai (KEN) 2:31:34, 6. Sarah Crouch (USA) 2:32:37, 7. Taylor Ward (USA) 2:32:42, 8. Kate Landau (USA) 2:33:24, 9. Melanie Myrand (CAN) 2:34:08, 10. Marci Klimek (USA) 2:34:53

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