Ethiopia’s Seifu Tura won the 2021 Chicago Marathon, the World Athletics Elite Platinum Label road race, on Sunday, beating out former champion Galen Rupp to claim his first major marathon victory.The athlete started competing for Ethiopia as a youth competitor on the track, primarily focused on the 3000m and 5000m. He moved to the roads in 2017 and experienced immediate success, landing on the podium in Seoul in second place in his 42K debut (2:09:26).
Sunday’s victory marks the first major marathon win for Seifu who ran three marathons in 2018, winning in both Milan and Shanghai, and finishing seventh in Dubai.
Prior to the race, Seifu had explained how the warmer than expected conditions may not play in his favor.
The 24-year-old, however, kept his cool to triumph in 2:06:12 as he finished 23 seconds ahead of the USA’s Galen Rupp, who won the race in 2017. Kenya’s Eric Kiptanui finished third.
Another Ethiopian athlete, Shifera Tamru, had been the early leader, as he followed the pacemaker through 5km in 14:36, seven seconds ahead of the nine-strong chase group.
By 15km, passed in 44:06, his lead was 15 seconds but his challengers were beginning to close him down. He was caught and at half way the clock showed 1:02:29.
Rupp was 11 seconds behind the group – which featured Ethiopia’s Shifera, Seifu and Chalu Deso, plus Japanese record-holder Kengo Suzuki and Kenya’s Reuben Kipyego and Eric Kiptanui – at that point but he rejoined the pack a short while later, on US record pace.