12 SEP 2012 General News Chicago, USA

Kebede and Kidane among the key names in Chicago fields

Werknesh Kidane of Ethiopia leads the pack in the Women's 10,000m Final on Day 7 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 3, 2012 (Getty Images)Werknesh Kidane of Ethiopia leads the pack in the Women's 10,000m Final on Day 7 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 3, 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Ethiopians Tsegaye Kebede and Werknesh Kidane are among the key international names on the race roster announced today by the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, whose 35th edition will be celebrated on 7 October.

These athletes join previously announced 2012 Boston Marathon champion and Chicago runner-up Wesley Korir of Kenya, three-time U.S. Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein, and three-time defending champion Liliya Shobukhova of Russia.

"The men's field is the deepest we've ever had in Chicago, and I think it will take a career performance to win on October 7," said Carey Pinkowski, the executive race director.

"In the women's field, with the addition of Werknesh Kidane, you are looking at some of the most talented athletes on the planet, each of whom will be trying to figure out a way to beat Liliya Shobukhova on what has become her home course. These are going to be magnificent races to help celebrate the Chicago Marathon's 35th anniversary."

Kebede returns to Chicago after a memorable duel against the late Sammy Wanjiru at the 2010 race. During the Olympic champion's brief but spectacular period of dominance in the sport, Kebede, the 2008 Olympic bronze medallist, was Wanjiru's most famous opponent, with the 2010 Chicago Marathon being the pinnacle of their rivalry. He'll be joined by countrymen Feyisa Lilesa, the 2011 World Championship bronze medallist; 2:05 performers Dadi Yami and Shami Dawit; 2012 Paris Marathon runner-up Raji Assefa; and Tilahun Regassa in his highly anticipated debut.

Kenya's Levy Matebo is the fastest entrant in the field, with a 2:05:16 performance at the 2011 Frankfurt Marathon. He'll challenge fellow Kenyan Wesley Korir, who came from behind to steal victory away from him at the 2012 Boston Marathon. The Kenyan contingent also includes 2012 Tokyo Marathon champion Michael Kipyego, 2011 Chicago Marathon runner-up Bernard Kipyego, 2011 Amsterdam Marathon runner-up Laban Korir, 2012 Lake Biwa Marathon champion Samuel Ndungu, and Sammy Kitwara, the fifth-fastest Half Marathon performer of all time.

A strong group of Japanese men is led by Takashi Horiguchi, who cracked the top 10 in Chicago last fall and ran a personal best of 2:09:16 at the Lake Biwa Marathon in February.

Women's field

Kidane owns history's eighth-fastest 10,000m performance, and, like former track stars Shobukhova and Ejegayehu Dibaba, she'll look to Chicago's flat and fast course to capitalise on her superior track speed. She's joined by fellow Ethiopians Atsede Baysa, the 2010 Chicago Marathon runner-up and two-time Paris Marathon champion, and Belainesh Gebre, the fourth-place Chicago finisher last year.

In addition to 2:19 performer Lucy Kabuu, the Kenyan women will be represented by former Boston Marathon champion Rita Jeptoo and Caroline Rotich.

Shobukhova will be joined by Russian teammate Maria Konovalova, the third-place finisher from the 2010 Chicago Marathon.

Smyth, Grabow and Metivier Baille highlight U.S. contingent

Along with Ritzenhein, the top U.S. entrants include Notre Dame University All-American and 2010 U.S. Half Marathon runner-up Patrick Smyth; California's Jimmy Grabow, who ran 2:12:35 in his debut at the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon in January; 2:13 athletes Jeffrey Eggleston of Arizona and Patrick Rizzo, a Chicago native; and Oregon's Craig Leon.

Recent U.S. 20K champion and 11-time NCAA All-American Renee Metivier Baille of Oregon headlines the U.S. women in her Marathon debut. She's joined by fellow debutant Stephanie Pezzullo, and U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon qualifiers Deanna Ardrey and Addie Bracy.

Organisers for the IAAF