Manuela Schaer and Daniel Romanchuk dominated the opening races of Abbott World Marathon Majors (WMM) Series XIII in Chicago on Sunday to begin the defence of their titles.
Both also secured their first bonus points to kick the new series off in emphatic style.
For Romanchuk, Chicago was where his road to glory began 12 months ago when he claimed his first WMM win.
This year the US athletes was back as the man to beat, having taken four races on his way to the Series XII silverware.
A first half that saw a huge bunch of athletes glued together was blown open by the 21-year-old soon after the 13.1-mile marker, as he cranked his enormous arms into top gear and sailed away from the pack.
He had time to boil an egg before the contenders for the minor places swung on to Columbus to battle it out for the podium, with Great Britain’s David Weir claiming second just ahead of South Africa’s Ernst van Dyk.
Eight in a row for Schaer
For Schaer, the margin of victory was even greater. The Swiss enjoyed a gap of four minutes and 14 seconds over USA’s Tatyana McFadden, who went wheel to wheel with compatriot Amanda McGrory to edge second place.
The Swiss star played a patient game before choosing her moment to try and leave her rivals in her wake, opting for just after the halfway mark to accelerate up a minor gradient and then relying on her famed downhill speed to do the rest.
From then on, there was little anyone could do to catch the 34-year-old’s march to her eighth consecutive Marathon Majors victory.
The bonus points competition offered athletes the prospect of eight extra series points and USD 1,500 for the fastest man and woman in a 400-metre sprint as athletes approached the 40km mark, regardless of where they finish in the pack.
With their Chicago titles successfully defended and bonus points added, Romanchuk and Schaer will now head to the New York City Marathon to try and repeat the trick.
The Swiss will be gunning for a third consecutive win in the Big Apple on 3 November.
This year’s Chicago Marathon also saw history being made in the women’s able-bodied race with Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei smashing the 13-year-old marathon world record with a time of 2:14:04. Kosgei’s fellow Kenyan Lawrence Cherono won the men’s able-bodied event.