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Matt Doyle & Jon Corwin/Medill

Marathon finisher Ryan Linden talks about his 2008 Chicago Marathon Experience.

Marathon a success despite hot temperatures

by Jon Corwin and Matt Doyle
Oct 14, 2008


 Jon Corwin/Medill

2008 Bank of America Winner Evans Cheruiyot on the homestretch at Sunday's marathon.

 Matt Doyle & Jon Corwin/Medill

 2008 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Slideshow.

Cold towels, bottles of water, bananas, and beer were just some of the options marathoners had Sunday at the finish line of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. A year after high temperatures and lack of water forced a race stoppage, the temperatures touched the mid-80s and Lake Michigan offered little breeze for the runners. Organizers were faced with exactly what they did not want this year, but were more prepared following last year’s problems.

Kenyan Evans Cheruiyot, 26, took home $100,000 after running the race in 2 hours 25 minutes and 25 seconds. He also received a $40,000 bonus for running the race under 2:07:00.

"Maybe I’ll go open a supermarket" said Evans Cheruiyot said when asked what he may do with his winnings. "I don’t have much experience in marathons, but I felt strong today."

Cheruiyot pulled away from David Mandago, 30, another Kenyan, late in the race. Cheruiyot put to rest any questions that he could not withstand a 26.2 mile race after having competed in mostly half-marathons before this. Eight of the top t10 finishers come from Kenya. Mike Reneau, 30, was the first American to cross the finish line, coming in seventh, with a time of 2:16:20.

Russian Lidiya Grigoryeva, 34, took home the women’s crown by completing the race in 2:27:17 seconds. Alevtina Biktimirova, 26, another Russian, came crossed the finish line just over two minutes later to take second place. Desiree Davila, 25 was the first American woman across the finish line, coming in fifth with a time of 2:31:33.

"My time wasn’t super quick,” said Davila of Rochester Hills, Mich. “The early miles were pretty moderate for everybody I think, I was feeling things out as I moved along. It was getting a little too quick for me and I backed off... things started coming back to me and I was running by people instead of running with people which is always pretty nice"

Australia’s Kurt Fearnley, 27, won the men’s wheelchair marathon for the second consecutive year, in 1:30:16. Champaign native Amanda McGrory, 22, took home the women’s wheelchair title for the second straight year, in 1: 55:12.

All participants were challenged by the weather conditions, but the new systems put in place by organizers helped ease concerns.

The new Event-Alert System, which gave runners the course conditions leading up to the race and on race day, shifted from yellow to red around 11 a.m. to alert runners that the conditions had worsened and they should change their philosophy for the rest of the run.

There were 20 aid stations spaced one to two miles apart this year, five more than last year. Medical professionals with equipment were situated at the stations along with water, Gatorade, and restrooms. At the finish line, medical professionals monitored the runners as they finished making sure they had adequate hydration and were taking the proper measures of recovery.

Of 45,000 registered participants, 31,401finished the race.