From the swarming scene of 45,000 runners competing in the 35th edition of the one of the most famous races in the world, two intensely competitive finishes highlighted an exhilarating Sunday morning.
As the elite participants made their way down the stretch of the 26.2-mile track in the 2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, Ethiopia was the country who reigned supreme on both the men's and women's sides.
Tsegaye Kebede led the charge, beating fellow countrymen Feyisa Lilesa and Tilahun Regassa as the Ethiopia trio headlined the men's finishers.
As relatively close as the men's side shook out, Atse Baysa won an even more stunning women's race. Chicago Tribune reporter Shannon Ryan documented just how dramatic the race was on Twitter.
Near photo finish for women's marathon. Ethiopian Baysa edges out Jeptoo at finish line. Closest women's finish in #ChicagoMarathon history.— Shannon Ryan (@sryantribune) October 7, 2012
Kenya's Rita Jeptoo is sure to be disappointed for finishing just one second from victory, but the excitement of the women's finish speaks for itself. Baysa's win capped the biggest storyline of the day, which was the fact that Ethiopia finished atop both the men's and women's races.
According to a Tribune report, Kebede broke the track record in Chicago by nearly a minute, which was set by the 2011 winner Moses Mosop.
After covering the first half of the race in a blazing 62 minutes and 55 seconds, the runner kicked it into another gear, completing the second half a minute and two seconds faster. Kebede bested his runner-up finish in 2010 by breaking through to the winner's circle with a dominant finish.
The deep Cook County crowds were certainly treated to extraordinary drama in the renowned annual event. Here is a glance at the top 10 finishers from both the men's and women's sides:
2012 Chicago Marathon Top Finishers (via the event's official website):
Tsegaye Kebede ||Ethiopia||02:04:38|
Feyisa Lilesa ||Ethiopia||02:04:52|
Tilahun Regassa ||Ethiopia||02:05:27|
|4||Sammy Kitwara ||Kenya||02:05:54|
|6||Bernard Kipyego ||Kenya||02:06:40|
|7||Samuel Ndungu ||Kenya||02:07:26|
Dadi Yami ||Ethiopia||02:07:43|
Dathan Ritzenhein ||USA||02:07:47|
Shami Dawit ||Ethiopia||02:08:39|
Liliya Shobukhova ||Russia||02:22:59|
|5||Caroline Rotich ||Kenya||02:23:22|
|6||Maria Konovalova ||Russia||02:25:38|
Fatuma Sado ||Ethiopia||02:26:09|
|8||Renee Metivier Baillie ||USA||02:27:17|