The Bank of America Chicago Marathon announced today that two of the best-known American runners, Joan Benoit Samuelson and Deena Kastor, will compete in this year’s race. Benoit Samuelson and Kastor won the race in 1985 and 2005, respectively, and will use this year’s race to commemorate their victories.
“Joan Benoit Samuelson and Deena Kastor are two iconic American marathoners,” Carey Pinkowski, executive race director of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, said in a press release. “These two athletes have inspired, and continue to inspire, generations of runners. We are proud to welcome them back to Chicago and can’t wait to see what they will do on October 11.”
Benoit Samuelson, known for winning the first women’s Olympic marathon in 1984, ran a 2:21:21 at the 1985 Chicago Marathon, setting both the course and American record. Though the course record has since fallen, Benoit Samuelson’s time still stands as the fastest Chicago Marathon finish by an American woman.
“My goal has always been to run as fast as I can for as long as I can,” Benoit Samuelson said in a press release. “I continue to challenge myself with new goals and look within myself for the story I want to tell at the race. When I crossed the finish line in 1985, I never thought I would be competing in the same marathon 30 years later. My challenge for this year’s Bank of America Chicago Marathon is to run within 30 minutes of my fastest marathon and 1985 Chicago Marathon finishing time.”
Earlier this year, Benoit Samuelson ran a 2:54:03 at the Boston Marathon.
Kastor, the most recent American woman to win the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, nearly eclipsed Benoit Samuelson’s course record for American women in 2005, winning the race in 2:21:25, just five seconds ahead of Constantina Dita for her first major marathon win. She still holds the distinction of being the only American woman to finish the marathon faster in less than 2:20, breaking her own American record at the 2006 London Marathon in 2:19:36.
“Racing in Chicago has always been special,” Kastor said in a press release. “It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since my first marathon win here. I’m proud to return the Bank of America Chicago Marathon this year to celebrate that accomplishment and continue to push myself towards new goals.”
Kastor aims to break the American women’s masters record at this year’s race, which currently stands at 2:28:40: a time established by Colleen De Reuck in Chicago the same year Kastor won the event.
Benoit Samuelson and Kastor will take part in the “Legends of the Lakefront” series this summer, which will bring well-known runners to Chicago to speak about their careers and share tips with area runners.
For more information, visit www.chicagomarathon.com.