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Women's Marathon Record Broken - 2001-10-08

For the second Sunday in a row, there is a new world record in the women's marathon. The newest mark has been set in Chicago where there was also an upset in the men's race.

Catherine Ndereba of Kenya made her big move about halfway through the Chicago Marathon, pulling away from Lornah Kiplagat and coasting to her second straight victory here. Ndereba crossed the finish line in a record time of 2:18:47. That is almost a minute faster than the women's record set just last week in Berlin by Naoko Takahashi of Japan.

After the race, Ndereba said the fact that Takahashi had already broken the two-20 mark for women made her effort a bit easier. "I am telling you it was kind of like breaking a barrier," she said. "Nobody could think that women could go at 2:20. But on Sunday [last Sunday in Berlin], for that barrier to disappear in our mind, [meant] women could also do the race in 2:18 or even under."

Ndereba says she did not check her time until almost the five-kilometer mark, and found herself behind the pace she wanted for herself. That meant she had to run faster the rest of the way.

On the men's side, designated pacesetter Ben Kimondiu of Kenya led for almost the entire race and held off the men's favorite Paul Tergat for an upset win with a time of 2:08:52. Kimondiu thought Tergat was planning to pass him late in the race when Tergat fell back twice only to quickly close the gap. "I knew he was a strong guy and had a strong kick, so I thought probably he was slowing down to pick up during the last two-miles [3.2 kilometers]," he said. "I did not know what was happening so I just kept going."

Tergat did stay a second or two behind Kimondiu for much of the last ten-kilometers, but was never able to get quite enough of a burst of speed to overtake him, and finished with a time of 2:08:56. "Personally, I had a great race 2:08 in my second marathon. I am still coming up," he said.

Also among the 37,500 runners in this year's Chicago Marathon was 1988 winner Ondoro Osoro of Kenya. He was running in his first marathon since being shot through the neck during an attempted carjacking in his home country last year. Osoro finished in seventh place, with a time of 2:11:44.