-- Naomi Nix
Two Ethiopian winners in Chicago Marathon
With a stunning effort over the second half of the race, Tsegaye Kebede became the first Ethiopian man to win the Bank of America Chicago Marathon and broke the year-old course record by nearly a minute.
Another Ethiopian, Atsede Baysa, won the women's race. She edged out Kenyan Rita Jeptoo at the finish line in one of the closest women's finishes in Chicago Marathon history. Baysa won in 2 hours, 22 minutes and 3 seconds.
Kebede clocked 2 hours, 4 minutes, 38 seconds. Moses Mosop of Kenya ran the race in 2:05:37 last year.
Kebede, the 2010 runner-up, pounded out five straight sub-4:40 miles to shred the pack down to two runners and pulled inexorably away from countryman Feyisa Lilesa in the 26th mile. Lilesa finished in 2:04:52.
The winner covered the second half in 61:53 after a first half in 62:55.
"I don't believe it," Kebede said of the time.
A view of the marathon: Fans, free beer, flags
As runners traveled down LaSalle Street on the Near North Side, spectators were crowded two- or three-people deep in some places.
It was the biggest crowd that Mary Racila, who has been watching her cousin Jeff Zwit run for four or five years, could remember.
"A lot more people came," she said. "A lot more spectators."
Racila and her husband were holding two pieces of posterboard with pictures of Zwit, a Chicago police officer, and his partner, who was also running the race.
Just north of where Racila was watching at LaSalle and Superior, Ken Regan was running what might have been the race's most popular refreshment stand.
Regan, who owns an apartment building along LaSalle, set up a card table with Dixie Cups full of Budweiser and Bud Light. It's an annual tradition that was started by the building's previous owner more than a decade ago, he said.
Regan bought six cases of mini beer cans and expected them all to be gone by 9 a.m.