Kenyans grab top 3 spots in Chicago race

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CHICAGO --- Kenya's Evans Cheruiyot won his second marathon in two tries, pulling away late from countryman David Mandago before finishing in 2 hours, 6 minutes, 25 seconds to win the Chicago Marathon on a warm Sunday morning.

A winner at Milan in Decem-ber, Cheruiyot grabbed the lead in the 24th mile and was all alone as he crossed the finish line for his first major marathon victory. Mandago clocked in at 2:07:37 in his first major marathon, with fellow Kenyan Timothy Cherigat third at 2:11:39.

It was a good day for Russia's Lidiya Grigoryeva, too.

The 2007 Boston Marathon champion breezed to her second major victory, clocking in at 2:27:17 and finishing more than two minutes ahead of runner-up Alevtina Biktimirova of Russia (2:29:32). Japan's Kiyoko Shimahara (2:30:19) was third, and Olympic gold medalist Constantina Tomescu-Dita of Romania (2:30:57) took fourth. Two-time defending champion Berhane Adere of Ethiopia (2:34:16) placed 10th.

The field featured about 35,000 runners, with $100,000 going to the winners.

"I'm very happy," Cheruiyot said.

Three years ago, that wasn't the case.

Cheruiyot and 14 other runners claimed they were left stranded in France with no money, food or shelter after competing in several races because their manager did not pay them.

The Kenyan embassy rescued them and Cheruiyot went home in January 2006.

He'll leave Chicago with more money and a wide smile after another sweltering marathon.

Last year, with heavy humidity and temperatures soaring into the high 80s, the race was stopped after about four hours. Organizers were accused of not supplying enough water, and about 50 people were hospitalized. A 35-year-old man died, although coroners blamed it on a heart condition and said tests showed no evidence he was dehydrated.

The weather was far from ideal this time, with the temperature climbing from 65 at the start to the high 70s while the elite runners were still on the course before reaching 84 late in the morning.

Even so, Cheruiyot managed to set a quick pace and appeared to be in good shape as he crossed the finish line.

He was in the lead pack with Mandago and fellow Kenyan Emmanuel Mutai as they headed south back through downtown and the West Loop midway through the race. Mutai dropped off in the 18th mile. Mandago momentarily took the lead but mostly ran alongside Cheruiyot before the heat caught up to him.


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