Eliud Kipchoge, 30, secured his first World Marathon Major victory Sunday, breaking away to win the 2014 Chicago Marathon in 2:04:11. Kipchoge transitioned to racing marathons in 2013 and finished second in the Berlin Marathon that year with a time of 2:04:05. Previously, he was the 5,000-meter world champion and a silver medalist in that distance at the 2008 Olympics.
His eagerly awaited battle with the 5,000- and 10,000-meter record holder, Kenenisa Bekele, fizzled when Bekele drifted back around mile 20, eventually finishing fourth at 2:05:51.
While many expected that Bekele and the field would break last year’s course record of 2:03:45 set by Dennis Kimetto, unfavorable wind conditions slowed the pack. Bobby Curtis was the top-placed American finisher, earning ninth on the day with at time of 2:11:22.
In the women’s race, Rita Jeptoo, 33, ran a 2:24:35 to defend her Chicago Marathon title. As Runner’s World reports, she’s won the Chicago and Boston marathon two years in a row and is the first person ever to win four straight World Marathon Majors. With her victory this year in Chicago, she secured the $500,000 prize and the 2013-2014 World Marathon Major series title. Amy Hastings was the top American finisher, running a 2:27:03 to nab fifth place.