Kenyan Brigid Kosgei has shot at world record in Chicago Marathon

The defending women’s champion is coming off a remarkable stretch that could build toward a record attempt Sunday.

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Brigid Kosgei crosses the finish line to win the London Marathon on April 28, 2019. She ran the fastest second-half marathon (1:06:42) in history.

Brigid Kosgei crosses the finish line to win the London Marathon on April 28, 2019. She ran the fastest second-half marathon (1:06:42) in history.

Naomi Baker/Getty Images

It has been a long time since a marathon world record was set in Chicago.

There’s a chance for one Sunday in the 42nd Bank of America Chicago Marathon. At least on the women’s side, from Kenyan Brigid Kosgei.

“I would love to see a really fast race in the tradition of Catherine, Paula and Joan,’’ executive race director Carey Pinkowski said.

That would be Kenya’s Catherine Ndereba and Great Britain’s Paula Radcliffe, who had back-to-back world records in Chicago in 2001 and ’02, and American great Joan Benoit Samuelson.

But from a competitive view, the men’s race should be a lot more interesting with defending champ Mo Farah of Great Britain, ’17 champ Galen Rupp of the United States, ’15 champ Dickson Chumba of Kenya and reigning Boston Marathon champ Lawrence Cherono, also of Kenya.

“The field is really strong,’’ Farah said. “It is not going to be an easy race. I think it will be fast. But it depends on what happens in the first half.’’

The weather forecast looks nearly ideal — 40s at the start, warming into the low 50s — for the tens of thousands of ordinary runners, though maybe a tad cool for a world-record chase.

Radcliffe set the last world record in Chicago on Oct. 13, 2002, exactly 17 years before this year’s race. She ran the standing women’s world record the next spring on April 13, 2003, in the London Marathon in 2:15:25.

Running records are sort of like dog years, and 16½ years is a lifetime. By contrast, the men’s record (2:01:39) was run by Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge only a year ago, Sept. 16, 2018, in the Berlin Marathon. The last men’s world record run in Chicago was by then-Moroccan Khalid Khannouchi (now an American citizen) in 2:05:42 on Oct. 24, 1999.

It could be an interesting weekend for record chases at marathon distances around the world.

Here’s where it gets tricky. Kipchoge ran the fastest marathon distance (2:00:25) in the Nike Breaking2 race in Monza, Italy, on May 6, 2017. That’s not an official world record. He hopes to break the two-hour barrier at marathon distance, possibly Saturday in Vienna in the INEOS 1:59 Challenge. Depending on weather, he could make that attempt up until Oct. 20.

Meanwhile, back in Chicago, Kosgei, the defending champion, is coming off a remarkable stretch that could build toward a world-record attempt on a fast, flat course such as Chicago. Last month, she ran the women’s fastest half-marathon in the Great North Run in England. The course is not eligible for records, so her 1:04:28 is not a world record. But a double of that time in the Chicago Marathon would smash Radcliffe’s marathon record. When Kosgei won the London Marathon (2:18:20) in April, she ran the fastest second-half marathon (1:06:42) in history.

“She has had no setbacks, no injuries and is being able to complement those performances with additional training on the run up to Chicago,’’ Pinkowski said. “If she stays on the same trajectory, we would see a fast time, which is great because it fits with the tradition of the Chicago Marathon.’’

Bank of America Chicago Marathon

What: The 42nd Chicago marathon, through 29 neighborhoods.

When: First wave begins at 7:30 a.m. Sunday; elite wheelers at 7:20 a.m.

Who: More than 45,000 marathoners expected.

Course: Begins and ends on Columbus in Grant Park; course winds north to Sheridan (north of Addison), west to Damen, south to 35th.

Expected conditions: Dry, 40s warming into 50s.

Info: chicagomarathon.com.

Live TV/radio: Ch. 5, Telemundo Chicago, 670-AM.

Streaming: nbcchicago.com and telemundochicago.com.

App: Available for Android or iPhone.

Abbott Health & Fitness Expo: Free, McCormick Place, 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday.

Finishers record: 44,610 in 2018.

Men’s best (Chicago): 2:03:45, Dennis Kimetto, Kenya, Oct. 13, 2013.

Men’s world record: 2:01:39, Eliud Kipchoge, Kenya, Sept. 16, 2018, Berlin Marathon.

Women’s best (Chicago): 2:17:18, Paula Radcliffe, Great Britain, Oct. 13, 2002.

Women’s world record: 2:15:25, Radcliffe, April 13, 2003, London Marathon.

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