Rupp Wins (Yes, Wins!) Chicago Marathon

Two years ago, Mrs. RunnerPub and I flew to the Windy City to race the Chicago Marathon. It was definitely one of the best running experiences I’ve ever had.

This morning, we got to relive all that excitement and then some — while sipping coffee in our pajamas on the couch — by watching this year’s Chicago Marathon live on TV. It was exhilarating, with Galen Rupp waiting, waiting, waiting, then CRUSHING the pretty solid international field using a string of 4:30 miles to become the first American-born champ since Greg Meyer in 1982.

Not sure how long that footage will stay online, but it’s worth watching while it lasts. Duly inspired, I’ll post a few random thoughts while they’re fresh in my mind:

– Sure, the race wasn’t that FAST. In fact, it went out super slow, all things considered, with a 1:06 first half. They weren’t even breaking 5 minutes a mile. This meant that the lead pack was huge (on the men’s side anyway; the women’s race couldn’t have been more different).

– That actually made it more fun to watch, I think. With no rabbit, it really became a race, almost like a cross country race. It was fun watching the likes of Aaron Braun (who?) lead for much of the race, with the current world record holder, Dennis Kimetto, et al, in pursuit. You could even see Noah Droddy hanging on in back, with his mustache and long hair. I’m a fan of his Twitter feed.

– Given that, it was hard to discount the likelihood that Rupp stood a real good chance in this. You kept waiting for things to break open, and waiting, and waiting…

– I need to track down his splits for this race, but I was blown away to hear that Rupp broke things open with a series of 4:35, 4:31, 4:31 around miles 23, 24 and 25. That’s how you win marathons these days, folks, and something Rupp is certainly aware of. It is, after all, exactly how he got dropped in the final miles of Boston this past April.

– There’s been so much noise in recent years around the Al Salazar, NOP, etc. But c’mon, how could you NOT feel the emotional pull when Rupp gave his longtime coach a hug and Salazar had tears streaming down his face. Whatever your opinion of the coach and his program, there’s no disputing this was the crowning achievement of years and years and years of careful planning and progression.

– It must be said; the Rupp family is very cute.

– Looking forward, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Rupp doing London next April and really gunning for a fast time. It’s frequently a 2:03-2:05 race, which hasn’t been the case in Chicago in recent years since they got rid of rabbits. Now that he’s got his first big victory, I expect he’ll start going for some fast times (an American record?).

– Finally, Mrs. Runner Pub’s hot take on Rupp’s win: “You could tell that Galen’s win brought him a lot of confidence and I think that’s going to motivate him to train even harder and set his sights on things like breaking the world record. You could see the satisfaction and confidence in his eyes afterwards, like he has what it takes and is doing the right things.”

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