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Ruth Chepngetich just misses world record at Chicago Marathon; Emily Sisson breaks American record

Ruth Chepngetich repeated as Chicago Marathon champion with a time of 2:14:18, just 14 seconds shy of the world record, making her the second-fastest women's marathoner in history.

Kenyan Ruth Chepngetich ran the second-fastest women’s marathon in history, and Emily Sisson broke the American record at the Chicago Marathon on Sunday.

Chepngetich repeated as Chicago champion in 2:14:18, which was 14 seconds off the world record.

“I wanted to break the world record ... but I’m happy,” she said. “Next time, I will not miss it.”

Through 40 kilometers of the 42.1-kilometer race, Chepngetich was on pace to break the world record of 2:14:04 set by countrywoman Brigid Kosgei in 2019, also on the flat roads of Chicago.

Sisson finished second in 2:18:29, breaking the American record of 2:19:12 set by Keira D’Amato in Houston on Jan. 16. Sisson, 30, ran her first mass marathon since dropping out of the Tokyo Olympic Trials as a pre-race favorite.


“I actually didn’t know what pace I was on the whole time,” Sisson said in a press conference. “I just was given instructions to go off my pacers and not think about time at all, so I had no clue what pace I was running until, I think, like a mile to go. A few people told me to pick it up, so I thought, oh, I must be close to either breaking 2:20 or the American record, but I didn’t know which one.”

Her “main goal” going into the race was 2:20, and if she felt good, she would go for the American record. After she crossed the finish line, Sisson asked her husband, Shane Quinn, “What did I run?” and then “Where did I finish?”

“I never saw a vehicle or a camera,” during the race, she said, “so I was like, I must not be on American record pace, because I figured they’d show it if I was.”

Kenyan Benson Kipruto won the men’s race in 2:04:24, tacking another major marathon title on top of his win in Boston last year. Conner Mantz was the top American in seventh place in 2:08:16 in his debut marathon, becoming the seventh-fastest American in history.

Chepngetich, a 28-year-old mom, went out incredibly fast -- 65:44 at the halfway point; 2:11:28 pace -- and slowed over the last 13.1 miles. Last year in Chicago, Chepngetich also went out hard (67:34) and came home in 74:57, winning in 2:22:31.

Chepngetich put in the fastest performance of a historic last year-plus in women’s marathoning: Kenyan Peres Jepchirchir became the first runner to win the Olympics, Boston and New York City in a career, doing so in a nine-month span.

Kosgei then won the Tokyo Marathon on March 6 in 2:16:02. Ethiopian Tigist Assefa then won the Berlin Marathon on Sept. 25 in 2:15:37. Another Ethiopian, Yalemzef Yehualaw, won marathons in Hamburg and London in 2:17:23 and 2:17:26 this year. All of those times are in the top 12 in history.

Next Sunday, Ethiopians Almaz Ayana (2016 Olympic 10,000m champion) and Genzebe Dibaba (1500m world record holder) make their marathon debuts in Amsterdam. On Nov. 6, Kenyan Hellen Obiri (two-time Olympic 5000m silver medalist) makes her marathon debut in New York City. On Dec. 4, Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey (5000m and 10,000m world record holder) makes her marathon debut in Valencia, Spain.

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