Ejegayehu Dibaba finishes second in marathon debut in Chicago

Ejegayehu Dibaba (Photo: IAAF.org)

CHICAGO — Ejegayehu Dibaba, a silver medalist in the 10,000-meter race at the 2004 Olympics finished second (2:22:09) in her marathon debut here today, reported the New York Times.

The winner, Liliya Shobukhova of Russia crossed the finish line with a time of 2 hours 18 minutes 20 seconds. With the victory, she earned a $100,000 prize, qualified for the 2012 Olympic team and set a Russian record.

Ejegayehu is the oldest sister of Tirunesh Dibaba, gold medalist in 5,000m & 10,000m races at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Her time makes her the second-fastest woman to run a marathon by a comfortable 27 seconds. (Paula Radcliffe of England holds the women’s world record with a time of 2:15:25 that she set in London in 2003.)

Shobukhova won in Chicago in 2009 with a time of 2:25:56 and again in 2010 with a time of 2:20:25. This year, she finished four minutes ahead of Ejegayehu Dibaba of Ethiopia.

Shobukhova and Dibaba, a silver medalist in the 10,000-meter race at the 2004 Olympics who was making her Chicago debut, were neck and neck for more than half of a race that many expected Shobukhova to dominate from the start. Japan’s Kayoko Fukushi, who finished third, was not far behind.

But Dibaba and Kukushi tired in the second half, and Shobukhova, with a steady pace, continued to expand her lead as the race progressed.

Dibaba said later that she injured her lower left leg a week before the race.

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