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Seifu Tura and Ruth Chepngetich are your 2021 Chicago Marathon winners

Sara Hall (third) and Galen Rupp (second) couldn't pull off hoped-for wins on Sunday

On a hot, humid day in Chicago, Ethiopia’s Seifu Tura and Kenya’s Ruth Chepngetich won the men’s and women’s Chicago Marathon races in 2:06:12 and 2:22:31, respectively. Americans Sara Hall and Galen Rupp went into the race with high expectations but fell short, with Rupp finishing in second and Hall third.

RELATED: Ruth Chepngetich runs 1:94:02, world half-marathon world record in Istanbul

Women’s race

Chepngetich, who is the former half-marathon world record holder and who finished second at last year’s London Marathon, took an early lead in the women’s race, and by the halfway mark was ahead of the world record pace and a full minute ahead of the rest of the field. American Sara Hall was about four minutes behind her in third and was on pace to run 2:24, well behind her goal to break Deena Kastor’s American record of 2:19:36.

By 30K, Chepngetich was running completely alone, with no pacers. Hall began to suffer in the humid conditions and dropped to fourth place behind her fellow American, Emma Bates, and Kenya’s Vivian Kiplagat. Bates continued to run well, and by 40K had moved into second, 2:25 behind Chepngetich, with Hall behind her in third. After a long, gruelling solo effort (and a large positive split), Chepngetich broke the tape in 2:22:31, followed by Bates in 2:24:20 (a PB and top-10 U.S. performance), with Hall in third in what, for her, would be a disappointing 2:27:19, considering her goal for this race.

Chepngetich has made the podium of every race she has finished since her debut in 2017. (She dropped out of the Tokyo Olympic marathon around 30 km.) This was her first marathon on U.S. soil.

Canada’s Kate Bazeley of St. John’s, NL finished in 2:36:46, 11 seconds off her PB. Cal Neff, holder of multiple Guinness world records while pushing a stroller (and former Canadian 50K record holder), finished in 2:23:47. 

Retired U.S. pro runner Shalane Flanagan, who is running all of the Abbott World Majors this fall, finished in 2:46:39.

Women’s top 10

1 Ruth Chepngetich KEN 2:22:31
2 Emma Bates USA 2:24:20 (PB)
3 Sara Hall USA 2:27:19
4 Keira D’Amato USA 2:28:22
5 Vivian Kiplagat KEN 2:29:14
6 Maegan Kritchin USA 2:30:17
7 Carrie Verdon USA 2:31:51
8 Sarah Pagano USA 2:33:11
9 Meseret Belete Tola ETH 2:33:14
10 Lindsay Flanagan USA 2:33:20

Men’s race

Ethiopia’s Shifera Tamru led the pack through the first half, and by 20 km, Ruppwho had been very vocal about his intentions to win, was 17 seconds behind the lead pack. By the halfway mark, however, the leaders began to slow down, giving Rupp a chance to catch up. By 25 km, he had made up 15 seconds on the pack and was running in the front with a group of seven athletes.

The pack began to thin after 30K, and Rupp, Tura (the eventual winner) and Kenya’s Eric Kiptanui broke away to form a lead group of just three athletes. With 5 km to go, Tura began making a break for it and the leaders spread out, with Tura leading, followed by Kiptuani in second and Rupp a few seconds behind in third. With less than 2 kilometres to go, Rupp managed to put himself in second place, but couldn’t close the gap on Tura. Tura won in 2:06:12, followed by Rupp in 2:06:35 and Kiptanui in 2:06:51.

This was Rupp’s fourth appearance at Chicago, which he won in 2017. He had foot surgery soon after his fifth-place finish in 2018, and registered a DNF in 2019 due to a knee injury. He went on to win the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, and finished eighth in the Olympic marathon in August.

RELATED: A team of Canadian runners is running to Chicago for the Chicago Marathon

Men’s top 10

1 Seifu Tura ETH 2:06:12
2 Galen Rupp USA 2:06:35
3 Eric Kiptanui KEN 2:06:51
4 Kengo Suzuki JPN 2:08:50
5 Shifera Tamru ETH 2:09:39
6 Colin Mickow USA 2:13:31
7 Nico Montanez USA 2:13:55
8 Reuben Kipyego KEN 2:14:24
9 Reed Fischer USA 2:14:41
10 Wilkerson Given USA 2:14:55

Wheelchair race

On the men’s side, world record holder Daniel Romanchuk of the U.S. narrowly won his third Chicago Marathon in 1:29:07, followed closely by Switzerland’s Marcel Hug in 1:29:08. Aaron Pike of the U.S. finished 20 seconds later for third in 1:29:28.

Tatyana McFadden of the U.S. won the women’s race in 1:48:57, with a comfortable lead over Yen Hoang of the U.S. in 1:50:14, followed closely by fellow American Jenna Fesemyer in 1:50:23. This was McFadden’s 24th major marathon win; she will now travel to Boston, where she will race the Boston Marathon on Monday.


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