Chicago Marathon: Sunday’s weather forecast
BY DALE BOWMAN For Sun-Times Media
Sunday: Mostly sunny, cool, high: 54.
The bulk of the 45,000 entered in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon may be looking at close-to-ideal conditions on Sunday. Whether those conditions will be conducive to a course or world record for elite runners is a trickier business.
Early forecasts are for temperatures warming out of the 30s with cloud cover.
“I think it will be magnificent for our 3-, 4-, 5- and 6-hour runners,’’ executive race director Carey Pinkowski said. “I am more interested in the wind.’’
Winds are forecast to be from west-northwest at 5-15 mph. That’s not perfect, but not bad either.
“Our fastest performances have been in cold weather,’’ Pinkowski said.
Last year was a bit of an anomaly — by regular human standards it was a nice day but warm for a record race — when Kenyan Moses Mosop ran a men’s course record of 2 hours, 5 minutes, 37 seconds. The men’s world record (2:03:38) was run by fellow Kenyan Patrick Makau on Sept. 25, 2011, at the Berlin Marathon.
“If the wind is down, 2:05, if the wind stays down,’’ Pinkowski said.
Obviously, a sub-2:05 would break the course record and be within range of the world record.
The men’s elite field is strong enough to push records.
Ethiopian Tsegaye Kebede (who had the famous duel with the late Sammy Wanjiru in the 2010 Chicago Marathon) is a slight favorite, but Kenyan Wesley Korir (second last year and winner of the 2012 Boston Marathon) is a serious threat. And Kenyan Levy Matebo has the fastest time in the field (2:05:16 at the 2011 Frankfurt Marathon).
“Maybe this is the year,’’ Korir said last month. “I am very excited. This place is like home to me.’’
The chance of a world record on the women’s side is more certain. Won’t happen.
“I doubt it, not Paula’s’’ said Joan Benoit Samuelson, who will be broadcasting the women’s race. “That course record could be broken.’’
That Paula would be Great Britain’s Paula Radcliffe, who set the world record (2:15:25) on April 13, 2003, in the London Marathon. She also set the Chicago record (2:17:18), then a world record, on Oct. 13, 2002.
“I think the course record is possible,’’ Pinkowski said. “That 2:15 by Paula is in the upper range. I think we are a few years away from that.’’
More than time on the women’s side may be whether Russian Liliya Shobukhova can four-peat and become the first, woman or man, to win four Chicago marathons.