Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei has shattered Paula Radcliffe’s long-standing world record by winning the Chicago Marathon in two hours, 14 minutes and four seconds, beating the Briton’s mark by more than a minute.
The 25-year-old Kosgei on Sunday retained the title she won in 2018 and added to the London marathon from earlier this year.
But it is the time rather than another major victory which is most notable.
Radcliffe’s 2:15:25 in London in 2003 was considered out of reach for even the best female runners until recently and Kosgei cut it by one minute and 21 seconds.
Kosgei, aided by male pacemakers, covered the first five kilometres in an astonishing 15:28, which would have produced a 42.19km time of around 2:10.
The 10km split was 31:28 before she settled into a more sustainable pace to pass halfway in 1:06:59.
An almost even split on the second half of the race in the Windy City brought her the record.
Ababel Yeshaneh of Ethiopia finished second, nearly seven minutes back, with compatriot Gelete Burka close behind in third.
— Chicago Marathon (@ChiMarathon) October 13, 2019
Kosgei has never failed a doping test but her agent is Frederico Rosa, who managed various other athletes who tested positive – including 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic marathon champion Jemima Sumgong and former world 1500m champion Asbel Kiprop.
It will also be noted she appeared to be wearing a version of Nike’s carbon-plated Vaporfly shoes which have been shown in studies to improve performance.
The men’s race was won by Boston Marathon champion Lawrence Cherono of Kenya in 2:05:45, who out-sprinted Ethiopia’s Dejene Debela to win by a second. Asefa Mengstu was third in 2:05:48.
Britain’s Mo Farah, the defending men’s champion, had a bitterly disappointing race to finish eighth in 2:09:58.
Farah was a former member of the Nike Oregon Project, which the US sportswear giant said Thursday would be shut down after head coach Alberto Salazar was banned for anti-doping violations.
On Saturday, Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya broke the two-hour barrier for the marathon by running 1:59:40 in an unofficial event not recognised by the governing IAAF.
Kipchoge also holds the official men’s world record of 2:01:39 from Berlin 2018.