Kenyan marathoner slips at finish but still wins

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS The LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon has had its fair share of dramatic finishes, but Sunday's edition will be remembered for a long time. In the competitive men's race on October 22, 2006, Kenyan Robert Cheruiyot pulled ahead of countryman Daniel Njenga in the final 100 meters of what was a terrific showdown, finishing first before an estimated 1.5 million spectators. But instead of celebrating and enjoying the moment, Cheruiyot found himself on the way to a local hospital. As he came to the tape at the finish line, he slipped on the pavement, which was still slick from the rain the night before, and fell down. His feet came out from under him and he slid across the finish, banging his head on the concrete.

There was some question of whether he actually crossed the line, but according to head race referee Pat Savage, his torso broke the plane, so Cheruiyot was crowned the champion with an official time of 2:07:35. "What happened was he just slipped," Savage said. "He was starting to lean back as he went into the banner. Luckily for him, he slipped completely forward."

After remaining down at the finish line for a few minutes, he was carted off in a wheelchair and then in a golf cart. While he didn't want to go, Cheruiyot was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital as a precautionary measure, and the attending physician kept him overnight for observation.

According to his agent, Federico Rosa, Cheruiyot had a "subarachnoid hemorrhage," bleeding inside of his skull, including inside of the brain. There was also some external bleeding. Rosa said that Cheruiyot never lost consciousness and his condition was listed as stable. "He is of course happy, but he is very tired," Rosa said. "He was a bit confused after the race and did not remember what happened."

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