Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei has smashed a seemingly untouchable women’s world record, winning the Chicago Marathon on Sunday with a time of two hours, 14 minutes and 4 seconds.
Kosgei took more than a minute off Paula Radcliffe’s 16-year world record and crossed the finish line six minutes ahead of any other competitor. She also won the marathon in 2018.
Kosgei made a statement in her first five kilometers, running a time of 15:28, a remarkable pace of 4 minutes 58 seconds per mile.
“I was not expecting this,” Kosgei said of the world record.
“I was expecting to run 2:16 or 2:17. It’s amazing to run 2:14, but the world record was in my head. When I started the race, I was thinking I need 2:15 for Paula’s record.”
“People were cheering, you are running the world record! World record!” said Brigid Kosgei, after breaking the world record by one minute and 19 seconds. Kosgei’s record wasn’t the only PR of the day. Share your 2019 @BankofAmerica #ChicagoMarathon time below! pic.twitter.com/bQfOnhpXH5
— Chicago Marathon (@ChiMarathon) October 13, 2019
Despite her dazzling performance, Kosgei has shown no intentions of coasting on the achievement. Just hours after breaking the record, she said any number of her female competitors could beat her.
“If a lady can prepare good and they have no injury … they can reduce to reduce to 2:12 or one minute to 2:13,” she told a news conference.
“I’m still focusing to reduce my time again — if it’s possible,” Kosgei said. “If my body would be good [I could] reduce [my time a] little by little, slowly.”
The 25-year-old’s impressive run came 24 hours after fellow Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge became the first person to complete a marathon in less than two hours, clocking a time of 1:59:41.
Despite one commentator likening Kipchoge’s performance to Neil Armstrong walking on the moon, his run will not feature in the official record books.
Widely recognised as the world’s finest marathoner, Kipchoge had the non-competition event in Vienna specifically tailored to increase his likelihood of cracking a sub two-hour time. It was an artificial event designed for speed.
A rotating cast of 42 pacemakers, some of the world’s best athletes, shielded him from the wind throughout the run. Kipchoge also trailed an electric car, establishing a consistent speed for the duration of the marathon, eliminating the normal wind resistance endured in marathons.
A bicycle-riding support team was on hand with water at all time and he wore Nike’s latest advance in running-shoe technology: the Vaprofly Next.
If Brigid Kosgei can keep this pace going over the final 5 miles and run under 2:14, it’s arguably as impressive as Kipchoge’s sub 2hr marathon. Especially with the insane start.
— Steve Magness (@stevemagness) October 13, 2019
Yesterday, marathoner Eliud Kipchoge became the first ever to break two hours. Today in Chicago, Brigid Kosgei set a new women’s world record. Staggering achievements on their own, they’re also remarkable examples of humanity’s ability to endure—and keep raising the bar.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) October 13, 2019
After witnessing Kipchoge’s run the day before her race, Kosgei said she had his achievement in the back of her mind.
“I kept saying, ‘tomorrow is my day,’” she said. “I wanted to be the second Kipchoge — the Kipchoge for women. I focused on that.”