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Track & Field News Mon, 12 Oct 1998

Kenyan wins Chicago marathon

CHICAGO 12 Oct. 1998


Ondoro Osoro won the Chicago Marathon on October 11, with the fastest debut marathon of all time, and the third fastest in history with a 2:06:54 time in the 26.2-mile (42.1-km) race.


The unheralded 30-year-old Kenyan surged past defending champion Khalid Khannouchi of Morocco in the final mile of the race.


Khannouchi's 2:07:10 clocking set in Chicago in 1997 had been the fastest first-time marathon. He hung on to finish second on Sunday in 2:07:19 despite a cramped calf muscle and sore ankle in his left leg.


South African Gert Thys duplicated his Boston Marathon finish by coming in third in a personal-best 2:07:43. Another relatively unknown Kenyan, Joseph Kuhugu, was fourth in 2:07:57, which lopped more than three minutes off his best time. The marathon was first in history to have four men run faster than 2:08.

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Joyce Chepchumba, 27, of Kenya was the women's champion in 2:23:57, the third-fastest time in the world this year. Chepchumba passed pace-setting Colleen DeReuck of South Africa in the 22nd mile.


Although she struggled in the final miles, she won by a significant margin over DeReuck (2:27:04) and South African Elana Mayer (2:27:20), both of whom tired badly.


Before his breakthrough in Chicago, Osoro had been known as a track and cross-country athlete and the longest road race he had run was 11.6 miles (18.7 kms). He was ranked as the sixth-best road racer of 1997 by one prominent American running publication. While his performance was surprising to many, it wasn't a shock to Osoro.


Ondoro earned 55,000 dollars for his first-place finish and a 50,000 dollars bonus for breaking the event record. GRi

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