Ivuti wins Chicago Marathon, heat halts race

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Chicago, Oct 8: Kenyan Patrick Ivuti won the Chicago Marathon after a tight two-man race to the finish with Jaouad Gharib of Morocco in unseasonably warm weather.

Ivuti and Gharib were neck-and-neck crossing the finish line in a time of two hours, 11 minutes, 11 seconds, with the winner called several minutes later as the temperature climbed towards 27 degrees Celsius (80 degrees Fahrenheit).

''The weather was not good. It was too hot,'' Ivuti, 29, said yesterday.

One runner was confirmed dead after collapsing in the record heat, and race officials closed the course just before noon, almost four hours after the contest began.

Those runners who had not yet crossed the halfway point were sent home.

Ivuti and the top woman finisher, Ethiopia's Berhane Adere, each took home a 125,000 dollar prize.

Kenyan Daniel Njenga finished third in 2:12:45, and defending champion Robert Cheruiyot of Kenya, who in last year's race suffered a head injury after slipping at the finish line, was fourth in 2:16:13.

Adere, the women's defending champion, sprinted past marathon newcomer Adriana Pirtea of Romania to clinch the women's race in 2:33:49.

Pirtea, whose time was 2:33:52, held the lead for the last four miles before Adere's final burst. American Kate O'Neill placed third in 2:36:15.

Cheruiyot, a three-times Boston Marathon winner, leads the chase for the men's 500,000 dolar prize in the 2006-07 World Marathon Majors.

The rolling two-year series finishes with the New York Marathon in November.

Reuters>

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