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Kosgei gutted as Chicago Marathon cancelled over virus fears

Last updated 21 days ago | By Robin Toskin

Kenya's Brigid Kosgei smiles after winning the women's 2019 Bank of America Chicago Marathon with the World Record on October 13 2019 in Chicago, Illinois

Women World Record holder Brigid disappointed, but now open to London invite after COVID-19 ends US race.

Marathon women World Record holder Brigid Kosgei is disappointed that the Chicago Marathon is the latest major marathon to fall victim to the coronavirus.

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Kosgei set the world record at the event on October 13 last year stopping the clock 2:14:04 but she will not have the opportunity to return to the course she made history on.

Lawrence Cherono (2:05:45) won the men’s title as Kenyan male athletes recorded a 16th winners’ diadem while Kosgei became the country’s eight female winner.

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The race organisers confirmed the cancellation of the race Monday for only the second time in its history.

“It was largely an expected decision, but as a sports person I always hoped for something positive as the race going on,” Kosgei said Tuesday.

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“I have been training with the hope that I would return to Chicago, a place I cherish for having the broken the World Record there,” she said.

Asked what her next plan would be, Kosgei said: “I will see, I don’t know if London would be possible. It is one venue I would love to compete.”

The London Marathon was to take place on April 26 but was moved to October 4. With the cancellation of the Chicago, now London is the last marathon race standing.

The Chicago decision had been largely expected, with several other major marathons around the world already suffering the same fate because of the pandemic.

The 43rd edition of the race was due to take place on October 11, with an estimated field of around 45,000 runners and wheelchair athletes.

“The Chicago Marathon is our city’s beloved annual celebration of more than 45,000 runners, as well as tens of thousands of volunteers, spectators and city residents,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.

“Like all Chicagoans, I’m personally disappointed that this year’s event won’t take place as originally planned; however, we look forward to welcoming all runners and their cheering squads once again when the Chicago Marathon returns to our city in full force for another very exciting race.”

Race director Carey Pinkowski said the decision had been taken with the safety of participants and volunteers in mind.

“We understand the disappointment, but when we return to the streets of Chicago, it will be a celebratory moment and an uncompromising statement about the collective spirit of who we are as a running community: We are powerful, we are persistent, and we will reach the finish line again,” Pinkowski said.

Chicago is one of the world’s six Major marathons along with races in Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin and New York.

The Chicago race was last cancelled in 1987 after a loss of sponsorship.

Tokyo went ahead in March with only elite and wheelchair athletes taking part, while Boston was due to take place in April but was then rescheduled for September before eventually being cancelled altogether.

Both Berlin and New York were also cancelled, leaving London — which was moved from April 26 to October 4 — as the last marathon race standing.

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