Ryan Hall completes the Chicago Marathon Sunday, Oct. 09, 2011, in Chicago. | John J. Kim~Sun-Times
Updated: November 16, 2011 11:52AM
Fifth place is worlds — or at least countries — away from first, especially when it is 21/2 minutes off the winner’s time.
U.S. star Ryan Hall ran a disappointing fifth Sunday at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. His time of 2 hours, 8 minutes, 4 seconds was well behind the course record of
2:05:37 set by winner Moses Mosop of Kenya.
Well, at least it was disappointing to those who hoped Hall might push the lead.
‘‘I am not disappointed,’’ Hall said defiantly. ‘‘Exactly what I hoped it would be. Not too many American guys are running 2:08.’’
Hall fell out of the lead pack halfway into the race, but he didn’t blame the weather.
‘‘It certainly was warm out there, but it didn’t feel terrible,’’ Hall said.
The next great U.S. hope might be Kenyan-born Wesley Korir, who finished second in 2:06:15. He has graduated from the University of Louisville and is waiting to become a U.S. citizen.
Despite one death, Dr. George Chiampas, the medical director for the marathon, said there was ‘‘significantly less medical interaction’’ than in years such as 2008 and 2010.
He said 54 people were taken to local hospitals, compared with 100 last year and 85 in 2008. Procedures changed after the death-dealing heat of 2007.
Tatyana McFadden, a University of Illinois student, won the women’s wheelchair race by more than two minutes in 1:45:03 and earned an automatic bid to the Paralympics.
‘‘I have a [Paralympics] shirt today,’’ she said. ‘‘It is a huge
honor — the first time Chicago
has the honor.’’
Chicago was chosen as the site where the top two U.S. finishers would receive automatic bids to the Paralympics.
‘‘I broke away about Mile 9 or 10,’’ said McFadden, who won the closest wheelchair race in Chicago in 2009. ‘‘It was a huge risk. I was feeling pretty good, so I decided to go for it.’’
Men on wheels
Kurt Fearnley of Australia won his fourth Chicago wheelchair championship in four tries in 1:29:18. He beat defending champion Heinz Frei of Switzerland by five seconds. Fearnley had won three consecutive Chicago races (2007-09) before skipping the event last year.
‘‘I saw Heinz got my course record [last year], and I knew I had to come back to set it right,’’ Fearnley said.
Fearnley said he was pleased to see the growth of the wheelchair race.
‘‘It is good to see the wheelchair race develop in Chicago,’’ he said. ‘‘It is a wheelchair-friendly course, flatter. [It would be] great if we could turn up here in four years and see 100 people on the start line.’’
Abby Wambach was one of the U.S. women’s soccer players who ran two-mile segments of the marathon for charity. She got enough of a taste to say she would be interested in running marathons when she retires from soccer.
‘‘If they waive my entry for 2017, I will come back,’’ joked Wambach, who said she anticipates retiring after the 2016 Olympics.