CHICAGO : This city lived up to its billing as the host of America's fastest major marathon, as Brigid Kosgei of Kenya set a women's world record.

A day after Eliud Kipchoge broke the two-hour barrier for the 26.2 mile distance, albeit in an event that did not count as a world record, his country woman Kosgel shattered Paula Radclffe's world marathon record on Sunday.

No woman had come close to Radcliffe's mark in the past 16 years.

The two achievements made the weekend one of the most memorable in the modern history of long-distance running, with Kenya asserting its supremacy as the heartbeat of the sport, in case there was any doubt.

Kosgel said she had Kipchoge on her mind after she saw that he had run a marathon in Vienna on Saturday morning in the once-inconceivable time time of 1 hour 59 minutes and 40 seconds.

''I kept saying, 'Tomorrow is my day,' '' she said. ''I wanted to be the second Kipchoge - the Kipchoge for women. I focused on that.''

Kosgei, who also won in Chicago last year, ran 2:14:04 on Sunday. Radcliffe ran 2:15:25 at at the 2003 London Marathon, and the record had long seemed untouchable.

For years, she was the only woman to have run a marathon in under 2 hours 17 minutes. Not only did Kosgei run under 2:15, she was close to breaking 2:14. And at age 25 , she could have a long career in front of her.

''I was not expecting this,'' Kosgei said of the world record. ''I was expecting to run 2:16 or 2:17 . It's amazing to run 2:14, but the world record was in my head. When I started the race, I was thinking I need 2:15 for Paula's record.''

Organizers had their eyes on Kosgei all week. She had run a blazing half-marathon at the great North Run in September in Northern England, where she finished 1:04:28.

She also won the 2019 London Marathon with a time of 2:18:20. She ran the second half of that race in a searing 66:42.

On Sunday last, Kosgei ran the first half in 66:59 and never looked back. She had planned to run the first half in 68 minutes, but on a cool breezy day, near Lake Michigan, Kosgei jumped at the opportunity.

On the marathon course, spectators were spotted holding signs pointing to Kipchoge's catchphrase : ''No human is limited.''

''People were cheering, you are running the world record! World Record!'' she said. ''I felt their energy and they inspired me.''

Kosgei made a statement in her first five kilometers, running a time of 15:28, a pace of 4 minutes 48 seconds per mile. To beat the world record, her average mile time would need to be under 5 minutes and 9 seconds.

She ran an average of 5:06 per mile.

The World Students Society thanks authors Matthew Futterman and Talya Minsberg.


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