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Shobukhova eyeing little piece of Chicago Marathon history


LiliyShobukhovcrosses finish line wChicago Marath2009. She defended her title last year. | Nam Y. Huh~AP

Liliya Shobukhova crosses the finish line to win the Chicago Marathon in 2009. She defended her title last year. | Nam Y. Huh~AP

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Updated: November 16, 2011 11:04AM



There was little need to translate when Liliya Shobukhova of Russia was asked Friday if she ever thought she could earn this much money by running marathons.

‘‘Nyet,’’ she said.

If Shobukhova, the two-time defending women’s champion, wins the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Sunday, then she will add $100,000 to her lifetime earnings. She also would become the first competitor — man or woman — to win the event in three consecutive years.

‘‘A [three-peat] here in Chicago is a privilege, something nobody has done,’’ said Shobukhova, who has been training at altitude. ‘‘I feel very good. I’m in my best shape, and I’m looking for a new PR [personal record]. I would like to be under 2:20, and it would be a new PR.’’

Shobukhova’s PR is 2:20:15. If she does run under 2:20, it would give her another $40,000 in a time bonus.

‘‘My training is focused on a new PR, then going to the next level,’’ she said.

A victory Sunday certainly would take her to a new level in money. It would give her $500,000 for locking up the 2010-11 World Marathon Majors Series.

And one other thing: The Russian marathoners with the top two times between Sept. 1, 2011, and Jan. 1, 2012, will earn automatic bids to the 2012 Olympics in London.

Shobukhova was asked whether she would be chasing the women’s world record of 2:15:25, which
Paula Radcliffe of Great Britain set on April 13, 2003, in London.

‘‘Maybe at the Olympics,’’ Shobukhova said.

NOTES: Moses Mosop of Kenya,
who seems to be the only real
candidate in the field with a chance to challenge the world record Sunday, said he is ‘‘not in good shape.’’ Whether he was using gamesmanship is open to question. He has the best PR (2:03:06) among the men. That’s the second-fastest time ever run by a male marathoner.

◆ Defending women’s wheelchair champ Amanda McGrory is going for her fourth title in five years and is bidding to make the Olympics. The top two U.S. finishers get automatic bids to London.

◆ The elite-athlete news conference Friday ended with a touching video tribute to 2010 men’s champion Sammy Wanjiru, who died at 24 in May in his native Kenya.



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