Posts Tagged ‘chicago’

Chicago Marathon 2019

Thursday, October 17th, 2019 | Sport

Chicago is one of the six marathon majors in the world, along with London, Berlin, Tokyo, New York and Boston. Why this is, is unclear. Nobody turns up to Chicago. The London route is lined with supporters the entire route. In Chicago, you can hear the footsteps of the athletes on the TV camera because there is no other sound.

That did not stop Brigid Kosgei, however. The London marathon winner shot out of the gate and refused to slow down, coming home in a new world record time of 2:14:04. This smashed the previous record of 2:15:25 that has been held by Paula Radcliffe since 2003 by 1:21.

On the finish line, Radcliffe congratulated Kosgei and said she always knew this day would come. I think collectively, as white people, we all knew this day would come, too. Radcliffe’s previous record was itself phenomenal, being over 3 minutes ahead of Catherine Ndereba’s 2001 world record time. It had stood for 16 years. The nearest anyone has got to it until now was Mary Keitany with 2:17:01.

Notably, of the 10 fastest marathon times ever for both men and women. Radcliffe’s time was the only one not set by a Kenyan or Ethiopian. Whatever genetic or cultural factors allow Africa to produce the world’s best distance runners, Radcliffe has been the only person in the world who was able to keep up with them. On the men’s side, you have to go back to before I was born to find a non-African world record holder.

But all records fall eventually (except Jerry Rice, obvs), and Brigid Kosgei’s incredible performance puts her nearly three minutes ahead of any time other the Radcliffe. That’s a huge gap. Will it too stand for decades, or give other runners the self-belief that they can run faster, too? I’m excited to find out.

Ryder Cup

Saturday, October 13th, 2012 | Distractions

Almost every sport, even the dullest and boring, has one event that enjoys such a good atmosphere, that it makes the sport, at least for a brief period, actually watchable.

For American football, it’s the Super Bowl, for athletics it is the Olympics and for cricket, it is the IPL.

For golf, it’s the Ryder Cup.

A competition that takes place every two years, the Ryder Cup differs from normal golf tournaments in that instead of each golfer playing for themselves, it is a competition between two teams – Team USA and Team Europe.

So unlike regular golf that is dull and boring, in the Ryder Cup you are given the chance to cheer on your team as players work together to further their team and defeat their opponents. And the crowd really do cheer – it becomes something akin to a scene out of Happy Gilmore as the crowd scream for their side, even as the golfers play their strokes.

Team Europe having emerged victorious two years ago in Cardiff, they now went to Chicago (the venue alternates each time) to try and defend their title.

After day one is wasn’t looking too good – Team USA had a 5-3 lead and by the end of day two the lead had increased to 8-4, and only stemmed at that because of a magnificent finish by Ian Poulter who managed consecutive birdies on the last five holes!

So it came down to the final day, 12 points available meaning that without taking into account draws, we could only lose 4 matches and needed to win the other 8 to draw things 14-14 – thus allowing us to retain the Ryder Cup as the current champions.

Again, everything hung on Ian Poulter who was the only early starter to be trailing his opponent. If he could pull it back, there would still be hope for Team Europe to make their greatest comeback ever, but if he lost it would be all over.

By this point, the NFL had kicked off with the 49ers via the Jets, so my live blog of the game includes updates from both the NFL game and the Ryder Cup.


Poulter needs to win his game if Team Europe is to have a chance. Meanwhile, the @49ers will start from the half way line.

Somehow, Poulter did pull it back, gaining the valuable point for Team Europe, and our other golfers put in a magnificent performance too to bring things all level.

It all game down to the final two games, Kaymer v Striker and Molinari v Woods. On the last hole Kaymer managed to clinch the victory, ensuring we had at least equal points to Team USA, meaning that they wouldn’t take the trophy away from us!

As it happens Tiger Woods went on to miss a put that allowed Molinari to tie the game, and thereby give us a one point lead! This was bad news for the bookies who ended up losing a huge amount of money (money they wouldn’t have lost if it had ended 14-14).