Photo by Ryan Bethke
Several of the country’s fastest athletes will come to Chicago this weekend to race the seventh annual Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon. In addition to 2014 Boston Marathon champion Meb Keflezighi, who will pace the 1:30 group at the half marathon on Sunday, the race yesterday announced a stacked lineup of male and female elites that will lead the field of 20,000 runners.
Jeffrey Eggleston, Fernando Cabada, Bobby Mack, Scott Wietecha and Christian Thompson lead the men’s field. Cabada owns the fastest half marathon PR of the group, boasting a 1:02:39, though Eggleston, last year’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon Grand Prix winner and the 2013 Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon champion, commands attention as well. Eggleston currently holds the third-fastest time of all U.S. Olympic Men’s Marathon Trial qualifiers with a 2:10:52 and plans to use Sunday’s race in preparation for the IAAF World Championships marathon on Aug. 22 in Beijing.
“My biggest opponent right now is marathon training,” Eggleston said in a press release. “If I win, great, but if I finish second or third, that’s no problem. I’m achieving my objective of competing, shaking off some rust.”
Cabada and Mack have also both previously won Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathons, while Wietecha is a three-time St. Jude Country Music Marathon champ.
Maegan Krifchin, the first American finisher in the 2012 IAAF World Half Marathon Championship race, has the fastest PR in the women’s field with a 1:10:56. Lindsey Scherf, who this year has already won the USATF 25K National Championship in May and took second last month at Grandma’s Marathon, will also compete on Sunday along with Yihunlish Bekele.
Keflezighi will be on hand at events throughout the weekend, including a shakeout run at Fleet Feet Old Town Friday at 10 a.m., the Health & Fitness Expo at McCormick Place and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago 5K on Saturday in addition to the half marathon on Sunday. In running Saturday’s 5K and Sunday’s half marathon, Keflezighi will complete the Remix Challenge, which awards runners with an additional medal for running both races.
“People take pride in where they earn their medals and [I’m] glad I can help them achieve their goals,” Keflezighi said in a press release. “Rock ‘n’ Roll gives you medals you want to show off. You run one race, you get one medal. Run two and be part of the Remix Challenge and you triple your medal count—one for the 5K, one for the half, another just for doubling down.”
Rock ‘n’ Roll weekend kicks off tomorrow with the Health & Fitness Expo, open from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. and again on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago 5K will take place on the Lakefront Trail near DuSable Harbor at 7:30 a.m., with the main event, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon, taking over the streets of downtown Chicago at 6:30 a.m. Sunday. Andy Grammar will headline the post-race concert in Grant Park.
For complete information on race weekend, visit www.runrocknroll.com/chicago.