01 OCT 2010 General News Chicago, Illinois

Merga and Lilesa join Chicago men's field

Deriba Merga after his 2:07:52 course record in Houston (Victah Sailer)Deriba Merga after his 2:07:52 course record in Houston (Victah Sailer) © Copyright
Ethiopians Deriba Merga and Feyisa Lilesa have joined the men's field for next Sunday's (10) Bank of America Chicago Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race.

The addition of Merga, the 2009 Boston Marathon champion, and Lelisa, who has a personal best 2:05:23, significantly strengthens what organizers have billed as the top men's field in the event's 33-year history.

The pair will join forces with defending champion Sammy Wanjiru of Kenya, London Marathon champion Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia and Boston Marathon champion Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot of Kenya.

Merga's entry adds even more intrigue to the race's impact on the 2009-2010 World Marathon Majors series standings as third-ranked Merga (35 points) is one of the only athletes in reach of surpassing top-ranked Wanjiru and Kebede (50 points each) before the series concludes in November in New York.
 
Twenty-year-old Lilesa is one of the most exiting young athletes in the sport. He ran near-World record pace through 35 kilometers at the Rotterdam Marathon in April before finishing fourth in 2:05:23, making him the youngest man in history to break 2:06 for the Marathon.
 
A trio of Ethiopian athletes will take the women's competition to new heights as well: Astede Baysa, the two-time Paris Marathon champion, Askale Tafa Magarsa, runner-up at the 2008 Berlin Marathon, and Mamitu Daksa, the 2010 Dubai Marathon champion, have been added to a field that already includes defending champion Liliya Shobukhova of Russia, London and Berlin Marathon champion Irina Mikitenko of Germany, and top American Magdalena Lewy-Boulet.
 
"The best field in Bank of America Chicago Marathon race history just got even better," said Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski. "The depth of talent in the marathon is at an all-time high at the national and international levels. These athletes are hungry to compete against one another and this year's field will bring a new level of excitement to the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. The stage is set for a historic race on 10-10-10."
 
Additional entrants in the men's field include Kenya's Shadrack Biwott, former standout at the University of Oregon and brother of Duncan Kibet, the second fastest marathon runner of all time; Kenya's Wesley Korir, two-time Los Angeles Marathon champion; Ethiopia's Negari Terfa, third place finisher at the 2009 Berlin Marathon; and American Nick Arciniaga, who ran 2:11:46 at the San Diego Marathon, the fourth-ranked time in the U.S. for 2010.
 
Organisers for the IAAF
 
A complete roster of elite athletes for the 2010 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, listed with personal bests:
 
Men -
Sammy Wanjiru, KEN               2:05:10
Vincent Kipruto, KEN             2:05:13
Tsegaye Kebede, ETH              2:05:18
Feyisa Lilesa, ETH               2:05:23
Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot, KEN    2:05:52
Deriba Merga, ETH                2:06:38
Negari Terfa, ETH                2:07:41
Wesley Korir, KEN                2:08:24
Laban Moiben, KEN                2:09:43
Ridouane Harroufi, MAR           2:10:14
Nick Arciniaga, USA              2:11:46
Jason Hartmann, USA              2:12:09
Justin Young, USA                2:13:52
Chad Johnson, USA                2:15:03
Mike Morgan, USA                 2:15:11
Luke Humphrey, USA               2:15:22
Patrick Rizzo, USA               2:15:48
Mike Sayenko, USA                2:16:38
Fasil Bizuneh, USA               2:16:47
James Carney, USA                2:16:54
Boaz Cheboiywo, KEN              2:21:40
Shadrack Biwott, KEN             Debut
Juan Carlos Romero, MEX          Debut
 
Women -
Irina Mikitenko, GER            2:19:19
Askale Tafa Magarsa, ETH        2:21:31
Naoko Sakamoto, JPN             2:21:51
Liliya Shobukhova, RUS          2:22:00
Atsede Baysa, ETH               2:22:04
Mamitu Daska, ETH               2:24:19
Lidiya Grigoryeva, RUS          2:25:10
Magdalena Lewy-Boulet, USA      2:26:22
Colleen De Reuck, USA           2:26:35
Desiree Davila, USA             2:27:53
Liz Yelling, GBR                2:28:33
Kaori Yoshida, JPN              2:30:58
Melissa White, USA              2:32:55
Tera Moody, USA                 2:32:59
Zoila Gomez, USA                2:33:53
Dot McMahan, USA                2:35:02
Maria Konovalova, RUS           2:35:21
Erin Moeller, USA               2:36:51
Andrea Pomaranski, USA          2:37:44
Fiona Docherty, NZL             2:37:55
Kim Duclos, USA                 2:38:21
Jennifer Houck, USA             2:39:02
Jia Chaofeng, CHN               2:40:33
Diane Nukuri-Johnson, BDI       Debut
Molly Pritz, USA                Debut