After 26.2 miles of winding through the packed streets of Chicago on a quintessential day to run, with unbeatable forty-degree fall temperatures, the men’s 2019 Chicago Marathon came down to one second.
Kenyan runner Lawrence Cherono outkicked Ethiopian runners Debela Dejene and Asefa Mengstu in the final 400 meters to win the men’s elite race. After running 26 miles and some change, the top three band of runners looked like they were coming down the home stretch of an 800-meter track race rather than the final minute of their endurance run.
Long-winded, yet determined to fight for first, Cherono, Dejene, and Mengstu finished within three seconds of each other – the closest podium finish in Chicago Marathon history. It was such a close margin that the entourage of people gathering around the finish and crowding Michigan Ave. had to crane their necks to see Cherono cross first.
Some may have been surprised that British distance runner Mo Farah, last year’s champion, wasn’t in the mix. Farah competed again this year but finished more than four minutes off his winning time last year of 2:05:11.
Leading the men’s elite field this October, Cherono ran a 2:05:45, topping his winning time from April's Boston Marathon (2:07:57). He is the first man since 2006 to win both titles in the same year – the latter, secured in a second.