Ruth Chepngetich just misses world record at Chicago Marathon; Emily Sisson breaks American record

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Kenyan Ruth Chepngetich ran the second-fastest women’s marathon in history, and Emily Sisson broke the American record at the Chicago Marathon on Sunday.

Chepngetich repeated as Chicago champion in 2:14:18, which was 14 seconds off the world record.

“I wanted to break the world record … but I’m happy,” she said. “Next time, I will not miss it.”

Through 40 kilometers of the 42.1-kilometer race, Chepngetich was on pace to break the world record of 2:14:04 set by countrywoman Brigid Kosgei in 2019, also on the flat roads of Chicago.

Sisson finished second in 2:18:29, breaking the American record of 2:19:12 set by Keira D’Amato in Houston on Jan. 16. Sisson, 30, ran her first mass marathon since dropping out of the Tokyo Olympic Trials as a pre-race favorite.

CHICAGO MARATHON: Results

“I actually didn’t know what pace I was on the whole time,” Sisson said in a press conference. “I just was given instructions to go off my pacers and not think about time at all, so I had no clue what pace I was running until, I think, like a mile to go. A few people told me to pick it up, so I thought, oh, I must be close to either breaking 2:20 or the American record, but I didn’t know which one.”

Her “main goal” going into the race was 2:20, and if she felt good, she would go for the American record. After she crossed the finish line, Sisson asked her husband, Shane Quinn, “What did I run?” and then “Where did I finish?”

“I never saw a vehicle or a camera,” during the race, she said, “so I was like, I must not be on American record pace, because I figured they’d show it if I was.”

Kenyan Benson Kipruto won the men’s race in 2:04:24, tacking another major marathon title on top of his win in Boston last year. Conner Mantz was the top American in seventh place in 2:08:16 in his debut marathon, becoming the seventh-fastest American in history.

Chepngetich, a 28-year-old mom, went out incredibly fast — 65:44 at the halfway point; 2:11:28 pace — and slowed over the last 13.1 miles. Last year in Chicago, Chepngetich also went out hard (67:34) and came home in 74:57, winning in 2:22:31.

Chepngetich put in the fastest performance of a historic last year-plus in women’s marathoning: Kenyan Peres Jepchirchir became the first runner to win the Olympics, Boston and New York City in a career, doing so in a nine-month span.

Kosgei then won the Tokyo Marathon on March 6 in 2:16:02. Ethiopian Tigist Assefa then won the Berlin Marathon on Sept. 25 in 2:15:37. Another Ethiopian, Yalemzef Yehualaw, won marathons in Hamburg and London in 2:17:23 and 2:17:26 this year. All of those times are in the top 12 in history.

Next Sunday, Ethiopians Almaz Ayana (2016 Olympic 10,000m champion) and Genzebe Dibaba (1500m world record holder) make their marathon debuts in Amsterdam. On Nov. 6, Kenyan Hellen Obiri (two-time Olympic 5000m silver medalist) makes her marathon debut in New York City. On Dec. 4, Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey (5000m and 10,000m world record holder) makes her marathon debut in Valencia, Spain.

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Rosie MacLennan, Olympic trampoline legend, retires

Rosie MacLennan
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Canadian Rosie MacLennan, the lone person to win two Olympic trampoline gold medals, announced her retirement at age 34.

“After 10 World Championships and 4 Olympic Games, it is time for me to hang up my shiny spandex,” she posted on social media. “Trampoline has been such an integral part of my life and sport will continue to be, even if my role in sport is changing. My experience as an athlete has exceeded even my wildest childhood dreams.”

MacLennan won Olympic titles in 2012 and 2016 in an event that debuted at the 2000 Sydney Games. She was fourth at her last Olympics in Tokyo. MacLennan, Canada’s flag bearer at the 2016 Olympic Opening Ceremony, also earned world titles in 2013 and 2018 among seven world medals overall.

MacLennan came back from two concussions in 2015 — over-rotating a jump in training and later when she was accidentally hit on the head by a car trunk — to win her second Olympic title. She came back from an April 2019 broken ankle to reach her fourth Olympics.

MacLennan, who qualified for her first world age group competition at age 11, spent more than 26 years in the sport.

NBC Olympic research contributed to this report.

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Jessie Diggins ties U.S. record for World Cup cross-country skiing wins

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Jessie Diggins tied Kikkan Randall‘s U.S. record with her 13th career individual cross-country skiing World Cup victory, taking a 10km freestyle in Lillehammer, Norway, on Friday.

Diggins, the most decorated U.S. Olympic cross-country skier with a medal of every color, prevailed by 3.8 seconds over German Katharina Hennig in the interval start event. Diggins trailed Hennig by one second at the 8.2-kilometer split, then made up 4.8 seconds over the final four minutes of the course.

“My fitness and brain were in a really good place,” Diggins said, according to U.S. Ski and Snowboard. “When I asked my body to go deep into the pain cave, it responded.”

Diggins tied the record of Randall, who in 2007 became the first U.S. woman to win a World Cup cross-country skiing race and ended her career by teaming with Diggins to win the first U.S. Olympic cross-country skiing title at the 2018 PyeongChang Games. (Another skier, Alison Owen-Spencer, won a race in 1978 that U.S. Ski and Snowboard counts as a World Cup, but the International Ski Federation does not.)

Diggins opened this World Cup season last weekend in Ruka, Finland, with a best finish of 10th among three races. She trended up each day, finishing that stop with the second-fastest time in last Sunday’s individual pursuit (where she started 19th).

Diggins, 31, has spread out her goals this season. One of the biggest is helping the U.S. win a relay medal for the first time at the world championships in three months. Diggins has been a part of relays that finished fourth at four different worlds.

She also eyes the World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in the sport that goes to the best all-around skier for the season. In 2020-21, Diggins became the second American — and first American woman — to win the overall in a season where Norway’s top skiers, including superstar Therese Johaug, skipped early season races and chances to gain points for the overall title.

Johaug retired after winning three individual golds at last February’s Olympics. Diggins is the top returning skier given the absence of reigning overall champ Natalya Nepryayeva, who cannot compete due to the ban on Russian athletes for the war in Ukraine.

The World Cup season continues with a freestyle sprint on Saturday and a classic 20km mass start on Sunday in Lillehammer.

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