At Chicago Marathon, Lederer on hand for Kenyan’s close bid for 2 hours

Peter Lederer at last year's Chicago Marathon.

      Peter Lederer was running his usual three-hour type marathon when he crossed the finish line at Chicago last Sunday and headed for a nearby hospitality tent, completely oblivious to the new world record set about an hour before by Kenya’s Kelvin Kiptum.

      Lederer entered the tent and then all hell broke loose.

      Kiptum didn’t just break fellow countryman Eliud Kipchoge’s mark for 26.2 miles, he shattered it.

      How about a staggering 34 seconds? The old mark was 2:01.09. The new one is 2:00.35.

      Yes, now the sub-two-hour mark they said could/would never be broken is truly in sight, just as things were back in 1953 when the world of track was on the verge of breaking the four-minute mile, which fell a year later (thank you, Dr. Roger Bannister).

      Lederer, a Langhorne resident who has run the Boston Marathon an amazing 20 straight years, for one believes the two-hour barrier could be broken any day now.

      “I didn’t hear about it until I got to the tent,” said Lederer after completing his 32nd career marathon. “I was sitting and talking to other people who had finished, had gotten their gear bags and were checking their phones.

      “Then it started going around: ‘Oh my god! Did you see his time? Kiptum almost broke two hours!’ People were talking about it a lot. Everybody was completely amazed.”

      Everything was perfect for an honest shot at the record. The course is flat and fairly straight, the weather conditions were perfect and the new, technologically advanced shoes were there for all to wear.

      “Of all the marathons I’ve done, this was one of the best weather-wide,” Lederer said. “High 40s at the start, low 50s at the finish. Wind was maybe six miles per hour. Sun was only out occasion. Great running conditions.”

      For decades, a sub-two-hour marathon seemed out of the question. But the prize money has gone up, the shoe technology has advanced and now it seems like only a matter of time.

      “A big part of it is the shoe technology,” Lederer said. “That shaved a bunch of minutes off it. But even before the fast shoes, the times were always going down at any distance. This just accelerated that pace of world records getting broken in a faster manner.

      “So now we’re 30 seconds away (from 1:59). It’s going to happen for sure. And I think Kiptum is the one who will do it.”

      >Ezzo’s PDR streak one for the record books

       Through no fault of her own, Mary-Pat Ezzo’s record-breaking Philadelphia Distance Run streak apparently has come to an end at 45 consecutive half-marathons.

      The Richboro resident actually thought she had competed in a 46th PDR in a row last month but officials have informed her they are no longer honoring or accepting “virtual” 13.1-milers.

      She had run several virtual renditions in Tyler State Park (in part due to the pandemic) and race officals did allow those to go into the record book, making her streak the longest in female competition.

      But then, without notice, they changed the policy this year so Ezzo’s streak will simply be recognized as the “last woman standing.”

      “I’m pretty proud of the streak or else I still wouldn’t have been running it,” she said with a chuckle during a telephone interview.

      Told that she’s the type who, when she starts something, she finishes it, she didn’t hesitate to reply.

      “Yes,” said Ezzo, a veterinarian. “I do finish what I start. In that way I think I’m fairly predictable with how I do things. I like to keep my physical fitness up.

      “About four years ago, I suffered through a broken leg about two months before the race. I came back eight weeks later and ran it. My orthopedic guy kind of looked at me like I was nuts. I didn’t do it because of the streak, I just did it because that’s me.”

      She isn’t sure if she’s going to make the drive back downtown to run Philly again. The streak is over and there are plenty of positive challenges in her life to pursue.

      “I haven’t decided yet,” she said. “I kind of wanted to finish with an even number but I don’t know. It’s part of who I am. Come next September, people will be asking ‘Are you doing it? Are you doing it?’ The streak. . .It gets tougher to do because it takes time.”

      Someone might together a longer streak in years to come but no woman can say they ran the first one and then did 45 in a row.

      >Trails 4 Tails race set to go

      If you own a dog and have him trained to run with you, we have just the event which might be right up your alley.

      We’re referring to Saturday’s “Trails 4 Tails” medley of races at Washington Crossing State Park on the New Jersey side of the Delaware River.

      It’s a fund-raising event with proceeds ticketed for “It’s a Ruff Life Rescue.”

      Competitions include a 15K, a 5K with dog, a 5K without dog and a one-mile fun run.

      Some reminders: Must be registered by Thursday; no strollers on the course; dogs must be on a leash no longer than six feet and only one dog per runner. The 15K starts at 8 a.m. and the 5K at 9:30 a.m. You can also do both the 15K and 5K, but you must be able to finish the 15K in less than 1 hour and 30 minutes.

      For more information and to register, visit www.runsignup.com

      >Race calendar

       Sunday

      Brain Injury Challenge Race for Recovery 5K, Richboro. Contact www.biapa.com

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About Wayne Fish 2411 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.