Top of the world Kos­gei smashes Radeliffe's mark

Kenyan knocks off 81 sec­onds in Chicago Bri­tish leg­end’s record had stood for 16 years

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Front Page - By Roz­ina Sabur in Chicago

Brigid Kos­gei broke Paula Rad­cliffe’s 16-year-old women’s marathon world record by a mas­sive 81 sec­onds in Chicago yes­ter­day.

The Kenyan com­pleted the Chicago marathon in 2hr 14min 04sec just a day after Kos­gei’s com­pa­triot, Eliud Kip­choge, be­came the first per­son to run the dis­tance in un­der two hours.

Kos­gei, 25, set a blis­ter­ing pace from the start, go­ing through the half­way point in 1-06-59 and barely fall­ing off the pace as she pressed on.

There were fears that the break­neck pace would tire her out too early, but she said she drew in­spi­ra­tion from the en­er­getic crowd on a cool, breezy day in Chicago.

The Kenyan said she had fo­cused all her train­ing on beat­ing Rad­cliffe’s record, set at the Lon­don marathon in 2003, but was sur­prised to run so fast.

“I am happy be­cause I was not ex­pect­ing this,” she said. “But I felt my body was mov­ing, mov­ing, mov­ing so I went for it.”

She added that she had been in­spired by her coun­try­man’s achieve­ment in Vi­enna and spent the run-up to the race telling her­self she could be the “sec­ond Kip­choge”.

Un­like Kip­choge’s feat, how­ever, Kos­gei’s achieve­ment was set in an of­fi­cial race on a record-el­i­gi­ble course.

Rad­cliffe was present to con­grat­u­late Kos­gei at the fin­ish line, ac­knowl­edg­ing that it was a bit­ter­sweet mo­ment for her. “I al­ways knew that the time was go­ing to come,” she said. “When I saw how fast Brigid was run­ning in the first half of the race, I knew it was go­ing to be bro­ken. If you had told me when I set it in 2003 that it was go­ing to last that long I wouldn’t have be­lieved it.”

The Chicago Marathon is a flat, fast course which has now played host to five world records.

It was on this course that Rad­cliffe set her first world record, ex­actly 17 years to the day, with a time of 2-17-18. She went on to set a new record at the Lon­don marathon the fol­low­ing April which she ran in 2-15-25.

“It’s a very spe­cial day for Brigid to­day,” said Rad­cliffe.

Kos­gei had set ex­pec­ta­tions go­ing into the race with a blaz­ing half­marathon per­for­mance at the Great North Run last month, and fin­ished yes­ter­day in Chicago al­most seven min­utes in front of sec­ond-placed Aba­bel Ye­shaneh, of Ethiopia.

Yes­ter­day’s per­for­mance shaved al­most four min­utes off her time at this year’s Lon­don marathon, which she won in 2-18-20. But Kos­gei hinted that she was hun­gry for more records, say­ing she was still work­ing to im­prove on her world­beat­ing per­for­mance.

She even sug­gested a woman could one day achieve a pre­vi­ously un­think­able 2hr 10min fin­ish time.

In a post-race press con­fer­ence, Kos­gei was asked to ad­dress the nu­mer­ous dop­ing scan­dals that have en­gulfed Kenyan ath­letes re­cently but re­sponded: “I don’t know about other peo­ple. I don’t know about those dop­ing and I say each and ev­ery per­son can run clean.”

Mean­while, Sir Mo Farah capped off a bad week with his worst ever marathon per­for­mance in Chicago yes­ter­day, where he had been hop­ing to re­tain his ti­tle.

The for­mer Olympic cham­pion fin­ished a dis­ap­point­ing eighth, more than four min­utes be­hind the winner, Lawrence Cherono, of Kenya, who fin­ished in 2-05-45.

It was a dra­mat­i­cally dif­fer­ent per­for­mance to last year, when

Farah pro­duced a Euro­pean record in Chicago, win­ning the race in 2-05-11. Farah had started steadily but early in the race there were signs he was strug­gling. By the 22mile mark, he was 2½ min­utes be­hind the front-run­ner.

Farah’s train­ing part­ner, Bashir Abdi, kept pace with him for a while, but the Bel­gian broke away in the lat­ter stages of the race to se­cure

a fifth-place fin­ish. It fol­lowed a week in which Farah had been forced to de­fend his re­la­tion­ship with his dis­graced for­mer coach Al­berto Salazar, who was found guilty of a string of dop­ing vi­o­la­tions ear­lier this month.

The elite Nike Ore­gon Pro­ject, where Farah trained un­der Salazar from 2011 to 2017, also an­nounced it would close this week un­der the shadow of the scan­dal. Go­ing into yes­ter­day’s race, Farah had in­sisted that “the marathon takes a while to learn and un­der­stand” after fin­ish­ing fifth at the Lon­don Marathon in April, but his dis­ap­point­ing per­for­mance may prompt ques­tions over what the fu­ture holds for the Bri­tish ath­lete.

It was also a poor race for other Salazar-linked ath­letes: Amer­i­cans Galen Rupp and Jor­dan Hasay.

Both left the race be­fore the half­way mark due to in­juries, with Rupp suf­fer­ing a calf strain and Hasay suf­fer­ing from ham­string pain.

The two ath­letes had gone into the race with­out a coach, since Salazar’s dop­ing of­fences have earned him a four-year ban from the sport. Salazar has said he in­tends to ap­peal against that ban.

Record maker: Brigid Kos­gei crosses the fin­ish line in Chicago (right) and (left) shows off her record time

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