Gwen Jorgensen 11th at the Chicago Marathon

Chief Correspondent

2:36:23 for the Olympic Triathlon at Bank of America Chicago Marathon

[UPDATE – Headline corrected from original which incorrectly stated ninth, rather than 11th place finish]


It wasn’t her first ever marathon (she clocked 2:41:01 in New York in 2016), but today’s Bank of America Chicago Marathon was Olympic Triathlon Champion, Gwen Jorgensen’s, first serious attempt at the distance since her departure from triathlon to become a full-time runner.

There is no other way of dressing it up – a finish time of 2:36:23 (5:58/mile / 3:42/km) is absolutely not the result she would have been expecting and happy with today. It is significantly below her potential, and the final few lines of this timing data will certainly provide few crumbs of comfort.


Gwen Jorgensen’s Chicago Marathon Splits:

Gwen Jorgensen Bank of America Chicago Marathon

A first half of 1:15:48 was followed by a second half of 1:20:35, with a significant fade after the 30km mark. Gwen’s final 12.195km was covered at almost 2:47 marathon pace.

Having run 1:10:58 for half marathon earlier this year (and been disappointed with that at the time), 2:36 isn’t even remotely close to what she should would have started today believing she was capable of. In November last year, when Gwen first announced her switch, I wrote this extended piece which included the following extract, based on my interpretation of Gwen’s distance prospects:

Anyone who has followed Gwen’s training and professionalism this year will know that she has taking the same ‘no stone unturned’ approach to running that she did to her dominance in triathlon. Right now at least, in my opinion, today’s performance does not come close to reflecting what should be her ability or potential. I believe that she would have been aiming at around 2:30 today, fully believing that was a target which would enable her to finish strongly and build upon for future races.

Is Gwen chasing the wrong (distance) target?

Of all the races Gwen has run this year, by far the most impressive performance (statistically) she has produced was her very first race of 2018 – 15:15 for 5000m indoors in Seattle in February. Six months after the birth of Stanley, that was an fantastic debut, far exceeding the forecasts of almost everyone. Can Gwen Jorgensen become a world class marathon runner, or did that race highlight where her real strengths really are?

What comes next will be interesting to see.

Chicago Marathon – Sunday 7th October 2018


1st – Brigid Kosgei (KEN) – 2:18:35
2nd – Roza Dereje (ETH) – 2:21:18
3rd – Shure Demise (ETH) – 2:22:15
4th – Florence Kiplagat (KEN) – 2:26:08
5th – Veronicah Nyaraui (KEN) – 2:31:34

11th – Gwen Jorgensen (USA) – 2:36:23


1st – Mo Farah (GBR) – 2:05:11 (British and European record)
2nd – Mosinent Geremew Bayih (ETH)
3rd – Suguru Osaka (JPN) – 2:05:50
4th – Kenneth Kipkemoi (KEN) – 2:05:57
5th – Galen Rupp (USA) – 2:06:21

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