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CHICAGO | History was made at the 2017 Chicago Marathon as 31-year-old Galen Rupp became the first American to win the event in 15 years in 2:09:20.
Rupp paced himself for the majority of Sunday’s Chicago Marathon, biding his time as the pace stuck around 2:11 tempo f
or large portions of the race. But once Rupp went between miles 23 and 24, not even defending champion Abel Kirui, who placed second in 2:09:48, could match the American’s speed. Rupp’s 4:30 mile split sealed the first victory by an American man in Chicago since Khalid Khannouchi in 2002, and gave the U.S. 10,000m record holder his first major marathon victory. It was the first victory by a U.S.-born man in Chicago since Greg Meyer in 1982.
“Words can’t describe the feeling,” an ecstatic Rupp, whose father, Greg, is from Maywood said on the post-race broadcast. “It’s fun to be part of it. It’s fun to see Americans competing on the international level. It’s real fun to see American doing well again. Hopefully we can inspire a future generation.”His coach, Alberto Salazar, embraced Rupp after his pupil crossed the finish line, with tears flowing after watching his athlete secure a major marathon victory in just his fourth career marathon.
Rupp’s moment has been coming, rising from the track to the road. He made his marathon debut in 2016 by winning the U.S. Olympic Marathon trials, placed second at the Boston Marathon and earned a bronze medal in Rio de Janeiro
The slow early pace jelled perfectly with the race plan Rupp and Salazar had established, which was for Rupp to wait for the pack to naturally dwindle and then move as late as possible, or when the timing felt right.
“Wait until the end, unless you feel really good, and then if you sense weakness, throw a few little pickups in. If you see people start to get gapped and sense that perhaps they’re vulnerable, then at that point really go for it,” Salazar said of the race plan afterwards.upp isn’t tipping his hand about how fast he thinks he can run, saying that he doesn’t want to limit himself, but he is confident that the fast times are on their way.
“I’ve run against some pretty good people that have run pretty fast. I know that in the right circumstances, with good weather, good pacing, good course, everything, I do believe that I can run a lot faster than I did here,” Rupp said.
Rupp said on Friday in an interview with West Suburban Journal that he was in his “best marathon shape ever entering Chicago”, which he proved proved by easily gliding ahead from Kirui in the latter stages of the race. Rupp said that his speed was the area of his training that went missing as he struggled with injury in his Boston Marathon build-up, but that it had returned with his health before Chicago.