Elites at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon

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We all love to cheer for charity athletes and those we know and love as they race the 26.2 miles of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, but this year’s race brings new excitement, boasting a large field of elites that include some of the top-ranked marathoners in the world. With resumes bursting at the seams with Olympic medals, world records and first place finishes, these pro runners are nothing short of extraordinary.

 

Women

Deena Kastor- USA


42-year-old Deena Kastor has been a fixture in the American elite running scene for years. From setting the women’s American 5K road record of 14:54 at the Carlsbad 5000 in 2002—a record that stood until this past April—to recently setting five masters world records in one race in the Rock ’n’ Roll Half Marathon in Philadelphia last year, Kastor has consistently shown fortitude and determination in her running career. Not only has she been one of the most well rounded runners, with American records at every major distance between a 5K and marathon, but she also is a three-time Olympian and broke a 20-year medal drought for U.S. women in the marathon by winning bronze in 2004.

 

Joan Benoit Samuelson- USA

An Olympic Hall of Fame inductee and established running elite, Joan Benoit Samuelson notably won the first ever women’s Olympic Marathon in Los Angeles in 1984, and continued to hold world and American records while also winning the Boston Marathon twice and the Chicago Marathon in 1985. This year she ran Boston again, completing the race in 2:54:03.

 

Blake Russell- USA

As both a marathoner and a mother, Blake Russell has been in and out of elite running in the past few years. After having her second child in March of 2013, Russell jumped back in the game this year with the Los Angeles Marathon – finishing third and qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Trials with a time of 2:34:57 after not finishing a marathon since 2008. This impressive feat is typical of the 40-year-old’s successes; she won the 2003 Twin Cities Marathon, her debut race, finished seventh in the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon in 2005 and was the only American woman to finish in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. After her recent comeback, the marathon will be another opportunity for her to show off her recent training and aspirations for the Olympics.

 

Sara Hall- USA

Sara Hall truly does it all. Known for her middle distance skill, she won the 2011 Pan American Games steeplechase and the 2012 US Cross Country championship. She debuted at the marathon at the Los Angeles Marathon this year with a 2:48:02. Hall now has various options ahead of her as she looks to the Olympic Trials for a variety of distances. Chicago will be her opportunity to show off her talents in the marathon after the disappointing start earlier this year.

 

Mare Dibaba- Ethiopia

The current leader in the Abbott World Marathon Majors competition, Mare Dibaba has blown away everyone in the past two years. In August, Dibaba became the first Ethiopian woman to win a world marathon championship at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, beating Helah Kiprop of Kenya by one second. She took second at this year’s Boston Marathon, after also winning the Xiamen Marathon in January where she set a course record in addition to earning a new personal record of 2:19:52. Dibaba finished second at last year’s Bank of America Chicago Marathon, but was proclaimed the winner after original victor Rita Jeptoo was suspended. All eyes will be on her this year to see if she will pull through with a victory.

 

Men

Dickson Chumba- Kenya

Tied for eighth in the Abbott World Marathon Majors, Chumba, 28, has paved his way into the spotlight in the past two years. He took first place at the Tokyo Marathon in 2014, ran a personal best of 2:04:32 at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon last year, and placed third in Tokyo on Feb. 22 of this year. His other event times also impress, with personal bests of 58:29 in the 20K, 1:01:34 in the half marathon, 1:13:25 in the 25K and 1:28:36 in the 30K.

 

Sammy Kitwara- Kenya

A strong 10K runner, Sammy Kitwara has shown prowess at longer races as well. He owns a 58:58 half marathon PR, took home third and second places at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in 2013 and 2014, respectively, and finished third at the Tokyo Marathon last year. In April, he came in sixth at the London Marathon. Kitwara set his marathon PR in Chicago last year, finishing in 2:04:28.

 

Tsegaye Kebede- Ethiopia

Tsegaye Kebede may only stand 5’2”, but the 28 year old has made his mark on marathon running. Kebede set his personal best of 2:04:38 at the 2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon in 2012 and saw great success in the following years: first place in London, second in New York City and fourth in the World Championships in 2013, third in last year’s London Marathon and eighth in the 2015 Tokyo Marathon. He finished third in last year’s World Marathon Majors rankings.

 

Endeshaw Negesse- Ethiopia

Coming back from a rough 2014, Endeshaw Negesse, now 27, started this year with a first place finish at the Tokyo Marathon, making it the first time in the race’s history that one country took home the title for both women and men. He is currently ranked second in the Abbott World Marathon Majors and has a personal best of 2:04:52 from the 2013 Dubai Standard Chartered Marathon.

 

Tilahun Regassa- Ethiopia

Tilahun Regassa debuted in 2012 at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon with the a 2:05:27. After his big entrance, Regassa won the 2013 Rotterdam Marathon by over a minute, and then went on to win the Eindhoven Marathon in 2014 in 2:06:21. Regassa is now ranked 16th in the Abbott World Marathon Major rankings after taking fifth place at the London Marathon earlier this year.

 

 

Expected Elites as of Sept. 9:

Women:

Deena Kastor- USA

Joan Samuelson- USA

Blake Russell- USA

Dawn Grunnagle- USA

Sara Crouch- USA

Sara Hall- USA

Lindsey Scherf- USA

Tera Moody- USA

Susan Partridge- UK

Fionnuala Britton- Ireland

Kayoko Fukushi- Japan

Rene Kalmer- RSA

Diane Nukuri- Burundi

Mulu Seboka- Ethiopia

Mare Diababa- Ethiopia

Jessica Draskau-Petersson- Denmark

Monika Juodeskaite- Lithuania

 

Men:

Hiroyuki Yamamoto- Japan

Satoshi Yoshii- Japan

Shogo Kanezane- Japan

Liam Adams- Australia

Mitch Goose- England

Fernando Cabada- USA

Dickson Chumba- Kenya

Sammy Kitwara- Kenya

Lucas Rotich- Kenya

Sammy Ndungu- Kenya

Tsegaye Kebede- Ethiopia

Abera Kuma- Ethiopia

Endeshaw Negesse- Ethiopia

Tilahun Regassa- Ethiopia