Ethiopians Tsegaye Kebede and Astede Baysa won the 2012 Chicago Marathon. Kebede won the race with a New course record.
Few countries have been able to keep up with Kenya in recent years when it comes to the success at long-distance races, but the 2012 Chicago Marathonwas a different story.
On Sunday, Ethiopian marathoners pulled off a sweep as the country claimed both the men’s and women’s races.
In the men’s race, Tsegaye Kebede became the first Ethiopian man to ever win the Chicago Marathon, and did so in style, shattering the course record in the process.
On the women’s side, Atsede Baysa took home the title, upsetting Liliya Shobukhova, who had won the Chicago Marathon in each of the last three years.
Shobukhova, who was gunning to become the first female four-time champion in the race’s 35-year history, finished fourth.
The sweep was threatened by Rita Jeptoo of Kenya, who was neck-and-neck with Baysa until the finish line, but the Ethiopian edged Jeptoo out slightly in the final seconds.
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Kedebe’s time of 2:04:38 was nearly a minute faster than the previous course record, which was set by Kenya’s Moses Mopop during last year’s edition of the marathon.
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Stunningly, Kedebe was joined on the medal podium by fellow Ethiopians Feyisa Lilesa and Tilahun Regassa, who both managed to best the previous course record as well.
Prior to Kedebe’s victory, the last nine editions of the Chicago Marathon had been won by Kenyan men, and, not surprisingly, the three Ethiopians were followed by a quartet of Kenyans, who had to be disappointed about the result.
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The 2012 Chicago Marathon was a day to remember for Ethiopian runners, as it claimed the first sweep since Kenyan runners took both the men’s and women’s races in 2001.