The performance caps an extraordinary weekend for marathon competition, with Kipchoge breaking the two-hour barrier in a special event in Vienna designed to show that a sub-two-hour was possible. He ran the 26.2-mile distance in 1:59:40, but the mark is not a world record because the run didn’t occur in an open event. Kipchoge’s run at what he called an “almost superhuman” feat was held on a closed six-mile course in a park, featured three-dozen “rabbit” runners who rotated in and out to keep Kipchoge on pace.
Kosgei had no such problem with a world record, even if she was somewhat surprised.
“I am feeling good, and I am happy because I was not expecting this,” the 25-year-old runner said (via the Guardian), “but I felt my body was moving, moving, moving so I went for it.”
Ababel Yeshaneh of Ethiopia was second, finishing 6:47 behind Kosgei, whose time was faster than all but 22 runners in the men’s division, and Ethiopa’s Gelete Burka was third in 2:20:51. Kosgei’s time would have been a men’s world record in 1964.
Radcliffe was on hand for the accomplishment and posed for photos with Kosgei.
“If you had told me when I set it in 2003, that it would last that long I wouldn’t have believed it,” she admitted, “but I always knew this time would come — and when I saw how fast Brigid was running today I knew the record would go if she could maintain her pace.”
Earlier this year, Kosgei became the youngest female winner of the London Marathon, with a time of 2:18:20. She won the 2018 Chicago Marathon (with a time of 2:18:35) and finished second there in 2017.
In the Chicago Marathon men’s division, Kenya’s Lawrence Cherono, the reigning Boston Marathon champion, outlasted a pack of four runners at the finish line, winning in an unofficial time of 2:05:45, edging Ethiopia’s Dejene Debela (2:05:46) and Asefa Mengstu (2:05:48).
Daniel Romanchuk and Manuela Schär were repeat winners in the wheelchair division.