Chicago Marathon: American men and women break through and notes off wheeler Paralympic Trials
American men and women had a breakthrough at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, which hosted another Paralympic Trials.
It was a coming of age Sunday for U.S. runners at the 42nd Bank of America Chicago Marathon.
Emma Bates ran a personal record — 2:25:27 — and finished fourth.
‘‘First half, I didn’t want to go out too aggressively, especially with the crowds; you get too hyped up,’’ she said. ‘‘Started picking up a little bit and picking off the guys in front of me. Find a guy in front of me, then get behind him, and that helped break the wind. I don’t know who they were, but it definitely [helped].’’
Four American men finished with 2:10 times and in ninth through 12th place: Jacob Riley (2:10:36), Jerrell Mock (2:10:37), Parker Stinson (2:10:53) and Andrew Bumbalough (2:10:56).
‘‘Well beyond expectations; I was shooting for 2:11-13,’’ said Riley, whose PR came after three years of dealing with Achilles injuries.
The tight pack helped.
‘‘There was a bunch of give-and-take,’’ Riley said. ‘‘All were interested in having a good American day.’’
‘‘It just got a whole lot more interesting today for the Olympic trials,’’ Stinson said.
Four other American women finished in the top 10: Stephanie Bruce (sixth, 2:27:47), Lindsay Flanagan (seventh, 2:28:08), Laura Thweatt (eighth, 2:29:06) and Taylor Ward (10th, 2:30:14).
Galen Rupp, the 2017 champion, suffered a calf injury early but pushed until retiring before Mile 23. Jordan Hasay, who came in with the best PR among American women, suffered sharp pains in her hamstring at two miles and withdrew.
WHEELERS: For American wheelers, the 42nd Bank of America Chicago Marathon meant something extra: It was also the 2020 U.S. Paralympic Team Trials Marathon. Chicago last hosted in 2015.
‘‘Every athlete wants to go to a Paralympics Games and represent their country,’’ defending men’s champion, American Daniel Romanchuk, said. ‘‘It is just a great honor.’’
Sunday was more of a coronation of the dominance of both Chicago defending champions, Switzerland’s Manuela Schär and Romanchuk, than anything.
Romanchuk immediately took the lead, but the pack came back. At 13 miles, he out-wheeled everyone to repeat.
His time of 1 hour, 30 minutes and 26 seconds topped the closest competitor, Great Britain’s David Weir (1:33:31), by more than three minutes.
‘‘The race started at a medium pace with a lot of movement,’’ Romanchuk said. ‘‘Halfway, I tried to break away from the pack and hold it until the end. At that time, I was feeling good.’’
He used a pre-race routine of riding the course in a cart to learn landmarks and road conditions to set a race plan.
Schär also repeated by out-wheeling the pack and finishing in 1:41:08.
‘‘Really glad that the day turned out really nice,’’ she said. ‘‘I expected it to be cooler. I expected it to be a tactical race because it was the trials. I don’t like to come down to the finish sprint. That hill attacked me I don’t know how many times.’’
Schär knows well the impact of the hill right before the finish. It partly explains her long history of coming close in Chicago before winning last year. She finished second four years in a row.
Americans Tatyana McFadden (eight-time Chicago champion), Amanda McGrory and Susannah Scaroni finished second to fourth, respectively.
Aaron Pike (sixth), who trains with Romanchuk, was the only other American to finish in the top 10 on the men’s side.
MEDICAL: Dr. George Chiampas, medical director, said there was a record-low hospital transport of 14. Because of good weather, they anticipated some runners would try for a PR. They noticed some fast runners cramping up and having to pull out.
30: Carey Pinkowski reached his 30th year as executive director of the Chicago Marathon. On Thursday, he was feted with a nine-foot portrait.
PEOPLE: Runners entered from all 50 Chicago wards, all 50 states and 135 countries.
QUOTE: At the kickoff news conference Thursday, four-time Chicago champion Khalid Khannouchi quipped, ``Enjoy the city of Chicago and spend the money.’’