Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei shattered Paula Radcliffe’s 16-year-old women’s marathon world record Sunday, winning the Chicago Marathon in two hours, 14 minutes and four seconds.
Kosgei broke the mark of 2:15:25 set by Radcliffe in the London Marathon on April 13, 2003 as she won in Chicago for the second straight year.
Kosgei, the 25-year-old who won the London Marathon in April and clocked the fastest half-marathon in history this year of 1:04:28 at the Great North Run, quickly separated herself from the women’s field as she ran with two male pace-setters.
She crossed the finish line alone, with Ethiopians Ababel Yeshaneh and Gelete Burka a distant second and third in 2:20:51 and 2:20:55.
While the IAAF recognizes the 2:17:01 clocked by Mary Jepkosgei Keitany at the 2017 London Marathon as a “women only” world record posted without male pace-setters, it’s Radcliffe’s mark — so long untouchable — that has been the grail for female marathon runners.
Kosgei’s performance continued a remarkable weekend in the punishing event, coming a day after fellow Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge became the first man to break two hours at the distance when he clocked 1hr 59min 40.2sec on a specially prepared course in a Vienna park.
Kosgei signalled her intentions with an astonishing first five kilometers in 15:28 — so far inside Radcliffe’s world record pace that it seemed she might have ruined her chances out of the gate.
But she settled into a more sustainable pace and powered relentlessly to the finish line.
Kenya’s Lawrence Cherono won a men’s race that came down to the wire in 2:05:45 — barely edging Ethiopia’s Dejene Debela who was second in 2:05:46 with another Ethiopian, Asefa Mengstu, third in 2:05:48.
Last year’s winner Mo Farah of Britain was never a factor — finishing a distant eighth in 2:09:58.
It was a disappointing end for Farah to a week that began amid a hail of questions about the scandal surrounding his former coach Alberto Salazar.
US distance running guru Salazar has been banned for four years by the United States Anti-Doping Agency for a string of doping violations.
Salazar has denied wrongdoing, but Nike shut down its Oregon Project running group headed by Salazar, and four-time Olympic gold medalist Farah arrived in Chicago for his defence to find himself again denying any irregularities during his time with the coach.