14 October 2019, 9am
Bank of America Chicago Marathon
Sun 13 October 2019
She sliced 81 seconds off Radcliffe’s time of 2:15:25, set in London in 2003. Yet in the previous 16 years no woman had come anywhere near it – the closest had been Mary Keitany in the 2017 London Marathon with 2:17:01.
Kosgei won Chicago last year in 2:18:35 and improved to 2:18:20 in London earlier this year. She had become the fastest ever woman at the half marathon distance only the previous month with a time of 1:04:28 – but this was not set on a record-eligible course.
She set off fast, reaching 5km in 15:28 with only Ethiopia’s Abebel Yeshaneh (15:36) even trying to keep pace. She then settled into a rhythm of 16 minutes per 5km split (31:28, 47:26) to pass halfway, accompanied by two male pacemakers, in 1:06:59. From 30–35km she sped up with a 15:45 split and followed through to 40km with 15:56. She did not falter in the finishing stages as she stormed on towards the finish line by herself.
“I ran here last year so I knew it was a good course,” said Kosgei. “There was a little bit of wind but it was okay. People were cheering all along the course, which gave me more energy.”