Britain rules the Windy City: ONE DAY IN AMERICA

MARATHON; Mike Rowbottom on a double triumph for Paul Evans and Marian Sutton
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The Independent Online
Paul Evans and Marian Sutton, who completed a win double for Britain in Sunday's Chicago Marathon, were able to reflect at leisure yesterday on the two best performances of their careers.

Evans, second in last year's New York marathon and third in the London race six months ago, was especially delighted with his time of 2hr 8min 52sec, well inside his previous best of 2:10:31. Sutton, controversially left out of the Olympic team this summer, recorded 2:30.41, also a personal best.

Both runners were at least pounds 27,000 richer for winning in the Windy City, not counting time bonuses, which will be worth a further pounds 14,000 in Evans's case.

"That will help pay off the mortgage for a little while," said the 35- year-old father of two, who took up athletics only 10 years ago after playing non-League football in East Anglia. "I didn't know how much I was on for in time bonuses. You can't think about money when you are running"

The conditions, just as he had hoped, suited him ideally: "It was 50 degrees, with no wind at all. A very fresh, nice day." He made the most of it, pulling away from Leonid Shvetsov, of Russia, after 18 miles and consolidating his advantage with three sub-4min 50sec miles.

Evans thus became only the third Briton to break 2hr 9min. He joins Steve Jones - who ran the British record of 2:07:13 on virtually the same course 11 years ago - Paul Davies-Hale and Eamonn Martin as a British winner in the Windy City. Martin, who won last year's race, finished fourth, while his fellow Briton Gary Staines came in fifth.

Second place in the Great North Run last month, and a 10 miles personal best in Amsterdam of 46min 34sec three weeks ago, had convinced Evans that he had a real chance of doing well in Chicago after New York, surprisingly, did not find room in its budget for him this year.

He realised he had the race won after 23 miles when the course looped in a U-turn and he could see his nearest rivals running in the opposite direction. "I thought: `Hang on, I've got a long lead here'," he said. With a mile to go, after one last look back, he was able to enjoy the moment.

For Sutton, who trains by herself around the streets of her home town of Looe, Cornwall, the final mile was where the race was won as she overhauled the American runner Kristy Johnson, who had held a 40- second lead after 21 miles.

"I was unjustly left off the Olympic team," Sutton said. "I had a point to prove, and I think I've done that."