The pre-race conversation focused on the battle between Hassan and the defending champion, 2019 world champion Ruth Chepngetich. The pair quickly separated themselves from the rest of the field, hitting world-record pace from the beginning.
Much like her winning debut in London in April, Hassan bided her time. She reached the halfway mark six seconds down on the Kenyan but both ahead of the world record pace. Hassan, a three-time world champion herself on the track, slowly reeled her competitor in. She caught Chepngetich by 25km before moving away over the final 15km.
Though the early pace would take its toll towards the end of the race, Hassan regrouped impressively, taking 20 seconds off Kenyan Brigid Kosgei’s 2:14:04 course record from 2019. Kosgei’s time remained the world record for four years until broken by Tigist Assefa in Berlin in September. Chepngetich would finish almost two minutes adrift.
Hassan was pleased with her performance saying, “The first group took off at a crazy pace, but I wanted to join that group. The last five kilometers I suffered. Wow, I won again in my second marathon in a fantastic time, I couldn’t be happier!
It was only six weeks ago when I fell on the 10,000 metres on the track. It was not meant for me then, but it was today!”
Hassan also takes almost five minutes off her own Dutch national record and, in only two unbeaten attempts at the distance, has now won London and Chicago, two marathon majors.
She now faces an enviable decision on which events she will contest in next year’s Paris Olympics, possessing personal bests ranked in the top ten athletes in history in the 1500m, 5000m, 10,000m, and now marathon.
Hassan’s feat is so impressive as it comes just six weeks after she completed a scarcely seen triple at the Budapest World Athletics Championships. The Dutchwoman was 20m from winning 10,000m gold there before she dramatically fell. She rebounded brilliantly to take 1500m bronze and 5000m silver.
The 5000m and 10,000 champion from Tokyo, admitted before the race she didn’t know how her body would respond after a period of only six weeks’ marathon-specific intensive training in Park City, Utah but she found her answer emphatically in the Windy City.