The most decorated distance runner in track and field history can now add a major marathon victory to his incomparable résumé.
Mo Farah won the 2018 Chicago Marathon on Sunday in a new European record of 2:05:11, as the 35-year-old Brit owned the final miles while taking 37 seconds off Norwegian Sondre Moen’s 2:05:48 previous mark.
Running just his third career marathon, Farah won in damp Windy City conditions in much the way he used to win on the track: by lingering in the background until the late stages of the race, then overwhelming the competition with his superior speed.
The four-time Olympic gold medalist took control of the race between 35 and 40 kilometers as part of an acceleration that would drop defending champion Galen Rupp and 2017 Boston Marathon winner Geoffrey Kirui of Kenya. Rupp would ultimately finish fifth in 2:06:21, while Kirui settled for sixth in 2:06:45.
Just before 39k, Farah dwindled his adversaries to just one— Ethiopia’s Mosinet Geremew, the fastest man in the field with a 2:04:00 PR— as Rupp’s training partner, Japan’s Suguru Osako, and Kenya’s Kenneth Kipkemoi fell off as Farah continued to ratchet down the pace.
Geremew finished runner-up behind Farah in 2:05:24.
Osako would go on to place an impressive third in a new Japanese record of 2:05:50, the fastest time ever for an Asian athlete and the first under 2:06. With the run, Osako made himself a rich man— the 27-year-old will receive 100 million yen ($879,350) from his home country for breaking the Japanese record. The Nike Oregon Project team member now owns the NOP marathon record as well.
Kipkemoi took fourth in 2:05:57 on Sunday.
But the day belonged to Farah, who made his final move with just 600 meters to go, a triumphant push that Geremew couldn’t cover. As he entered the final stretch of the race with the victory in hand, Farah began to wave his arms in celebration, a signal that he had conquered a deep field in Chicago while simultaneously securing his breakout moment in his new event.
Farah broke the tape with his familiar Mo-Bot “M” victory gesture, a reminder of who he was before, and now, what he may become in the marathon.
24-year-old Brigid Kosgei runs No. 7 All-Time 2:18:35, Third-Fastest In Chicago Ever
While the men’s race garnered much of the pre-race attention given the heavyweights involved, 24-year-old Kenyan Brigid Kosgei turned the women’s race into an assault on the record books as she won by two minutes and 43 seconds in 2:18:35, making her the seventh-fastest woman in marathon history.
The time is also the third-fastest in Chicago history, behind only Paula Radcliffe’s 2:17:18 course record from 2002 and Tirunesh Dibaba’s 2:18:31 last year. Kosgei finished runner-up to Dibaba in 2017, but on Sunday she was all to herself for the last several miles, as she split a remarkable 15:36 between 30 and 35k to break the race wide open.
Ethiopia’s Roza Dereje finished a distant second in 2:21:18, while her countrywoman Shure Demise was third in 2:22:15.
29-year-old Sarah Crouch earned the honor of top American as she ran a seven-second PR of 2:32:37. Crouch’s previous best of 2:32:44 was also set in Chicago back in 2014 as she placed sixth then as well.
2016 Olympic triathlon champion Gwen Jorgensen finished 11th in 2:36:23 while running her first marathon since focusing solely on running. Jorgensen had previously run 2:41:01 in New York back in 2016.