The Bank of America Chicago Marathon today announced that three of the world's top marathon champions will compete head-to-head in the most competitive field ever assembled in the 33-year history of the race.
The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is an IAAF Gold Label Road Race.
Olympic champion and defending Chicago champion Sammy Wanjiru of Kenya, 2010 Virgin London Marathon champion Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia, and 2010 Boston Marathon champion Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot of Kenya will put their winning records on the line in Chicago on Sunday, October 10.
The participation of these runners will be pivotal in deciding the winner of the 2009-2010 World Marathon Majors (WMM) series. Wanjiru and Kebede are tied atop the current series standings with 50 points apiece. A victory by one or the other in Chicago would likely determine the champion of the series, which concludes with the ING New York City Marathon on 7 November.
Also toeing the start line in Chicago will be Vincent Kipruto from Kenya, who placed third in last year's race.
Wanjiru, 23, arrived in Chicago last autumn fresh off a victory and course record (2:05:10) in London. In his first race on U.S. soil, the 2008 Olympic gold medallist thrilled the Chicago crowds by breaking the finish tape in 2:05:41, one second below the previous course record, marking the fastest marathon ever run in North America.
Wanjiru's Chicago victory gave him an insurmountable lead in the 2008-2009 WMM series, for which he was crowned champion last November.
"The Bank of America Chicago Marathon has a fantastic course and I am looking forward to returning there to defend my title," said Wanjiru. "I know there will be good competition and I will be ready for a fast and competitive race."
Following a runner-up finish to Wanjiru in London in 2009, Kebede, 23, the World and Olympic bronze medallist, earned his first World Marathon Major victory at the same event this past April. Kebede, a proven champion, has notched victories in Paris (2008) and Fukuoka ( 2008 and 2009), where he set a course record and personal best of 2:05:18 in 2009.
"After competing in Europe, Asia and my home continent of Africa, I'm looking forward to competing in America for the first time in my life," said Kebede. "Chicago is one of the most prestigious races in the world, and after winning London this spring, I feel privileged to compete here in Chicago against some of the best marathoners in the world."
Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot, 22, (not to be confused with Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot, the 2006 Chicago Marathon champion) stunned the running world at the 2010 Boston Marathon when he slashed 82 seconds off the existing course record. His time of 2:05:52 is the fourth-fastest ever run on U.S. soil.
"Winning Boston in 2:05:52 gave me confidence that I can run very fast in the marathon," said Cheruiyot. "I am excited to test myself on a flat and fast course in Chicago. I am extremely motivated to race well and I hope to improve my time."
Vincent Kipruto, 23, is another young talent who took third in Chicago last year. He is the 2009 Paris International Marathon champion and course record holder (2:05:47), and placed third at the 2010 Fortis Rotterdam Marathon in a personal best 2:05:13, the 12th fastest time in history.
These men, along with American Ryan Hall, whose participation was announced prior to his fourth place finish at the Boston Marathon in April, will vie for the prestigious Bank of America Chicago Marathon crown on Sunday, October 10, 2010:
Organisers for the IAAF