CHICAGO -- Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia shattered the course record in winning the Chicago Marathon on Sunday morning.
Kebede pulled away late and was all alone, waving to the crowd as he approached the finish at Grant Park and crossing the line in 2 hours, 4 minutes, 38 seconds. That easily eclipsed the previous mark of 2:05:37 set by Kenya's Moses Mosop last year and was more than enough to beat countryman Feyisa Lilesa.
The women's race was also a thriller, with Atsede Baysa of Ethiopia edging Kenya's Rita Jeptoo by about a step. The two traded leads down the stretch, with Jeptoo briefly grabbing it as they turned into Grant Park and Baysa quickly regaining it.
She kept looking over her shoulder during the final stretch and barely hung on, with Jeptoo making one final push and raising her arms at the finish line.
Baysa broke the tape, though, finishing in 2:22:03, one second ahead of Jeptoo. That ended the three-year run of Russia's Liliya Shobukhova, who placed fourth at 2:22:59. Kenya's Lucy Kabuu (2:22:41) was third.
On a cool day that seemed made for a course record, Kebede delivered.
He and Lilesa started to break away over the final three miles, and with about a mile to go, it was clear that this was Kebede's race.
The runner-up to the late Sammy Wanjiru in 2010 in a stirring finish, he simply came on strong as they approached the finish on the way to his second major marathon victory. He also took the top prize at London in 2010.
Ethiopian Tilahun Regassa (2:05:28) was third.
With 42-degree temperatures at the start, the conditions were good for a race marked by tragedy and mishap in recent years.
Chad Schieber, a 35-year-old Michigan police officer and father of three, died during the 2007 marathon in near-90 degree heat.
Race organizers improved communication among various agencies and the runners. They also added more water distribution points and medical aid stations, but tragedy struck again when William Caviness, a 35-year-old North Carolina firefighter, collapsed about 500 yards from the finish line on a day when temperatures reached the high 70s.
There was also a mishap in 2006, when champion Robert Cheruiyot of Kenya slipped on a wet decal and banged his head as he crossed the finish line.
Mosop won in 2011 with the then-course record but was recovering from an injury and missed Sunday's race. That left Wesley Korir as the favorite in his fifth Chicago appearance after winning in Boston this year, but he dropped off the lead pack around the 20th mile and took fifth.
Shobukhova was looking to put aside a disappointing Olympics and become just the second four-time winner - male or female - in Chicago. The only other runner to do that was Khalid Khannouchi (1997, 1999, 2000, 2002).
She had been dealing with a hamstring problem and came up short in this race, after she was unable to finish at the London Games due to stomach cramps.