With Chicago Marathon, McFadden makes it 3 in row in women’s wheelchair race
BY DALE BOWMAN For Sun-Times Media
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Muscle memory worked Sunday for Tatyana McFadden in the Chicago Marathon.
McFadden raced to her third consecutive title in the women’s wheelchair race in a course-record 1 hour, 42 minutes, 35 seconds, edging Manuela Schaer of Switzerland by three seconds. She also became the first woman to win three consecutive marathons (Boston, London, Chicago) and will bid for the grand slam Nov. 3 in New York.
It was McFadden’s fourth victory overall in Chicago. She also won in 2009.
She said she felt pain in the 20th mile.
‘‘I didn’t know if I would be able to stay on top,’’ McFadden said. ‘‘From there, I went on muscle memory.’’
In another close finish, Ernst Van Dyk of South Africa won in a course-record 1:30:37, one second faster than Kurt Fearnley of Australia and Josh George of the United States.
Van Dyk said there was a big pack at the beginning.
‘‘In the end, I knew no one would get away,’’’ he said. ‘‘It would be a tactical race. It was a huge sprint.’’
Dathan Ritzenhein was the top U.S. men’s finisher, taking fifth place.
‘‘If I had been fifth place and three minutes faster, I would have been happier,’’ he said. ‘‘I wanted to be more competitive.’’
Ritzenhein finished in 2:09:45, well off his personal best of 2:07:47 set last year in Chicago.
‘‘I had hoped to run three minutes faster,’’ he said. ‘‘I definitely struggled the last five miles.’’
Clara Santucci was the top U.S. women’s finisher, taking ninth in 2:31:39.
‘‘I went out fine,’’ she said. ‘‘[I was] on target to break 2:30, then my legs started tightening up and I struggled a bit.’’
About 750 participants required medical care, according to medical director George Chiampas. Twenty-six were transported to area hospitals, but none of the injuries appeared to be serious, Chiampas said.
The elite field drew athletes from 13 countries. Foreign runners made up about a quarter of the field.