Organisers of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon have announced that four-time Olympic gold medallist and six-time world champion Mo Farah will contest the IAAF Gold Label road race on 7 October.
The race marks Farah’s third go at the distance and his first marathon on US soil. He will join defending champion and former training partner Galen Rupp on the start line.
“Mo and Galen are two of the greatest distance runners of all time,” said executive race director Carey Pinkowski. “They come to Chicago following in the footsteps of incredible runners like Khalid Khannouchi, Sammy Wanjiru, Moses Tanui, Paul Tergat, Steve Jones and more. These two runners have competed at the highest level of competition and I’m confident they will come prepared for what’s shaping up to be an epic showdown.”
Farah made his marathon debut in 2014 in London, clocking 2:08:21 to finish eighth. He turned his attention back to the track in 2016 and became just the second athlete in history to pull off back-to-back Olympic gold medals in both the 5000m and 10,000m.
Following his retirement from the track after winning the world 10,000m title in London last year, he returned to the 26.2-mile distance earlier in 2018. He finished third in London with a national record of 2:06:21.
The 35-year-old holds the British records for the 1500m, 3000m, two-mile, 5000m, 10,000m, 5km, 10km, 20km, half marathon and marathon.
The Bank of America Chicago Marathon will reintroduce pacers into this year’s elite races after breaking from the tradition for the past few years.
“The championship style of racing that spectators enjoy will continue as the race enters its final miles,” Pinkowski said. “The epic 2010 duel between the late Wanjiru and Tsegaye Kebede – arguably one of the greatest finishes in marathon history – underscores the importance of the tactics that still exist and flourish in paced races.”
Pinkowski and event organisers decided to transition back to pacers to leverage the speed of the course, to work towards setting up ideal conditions for the top tier elite athletes confirmed so far, and to respond to feedback received from runners.
“We listened to the athletes and they want to come to Chicago because of our tradition of fast times and our legacy as a world record course,” continued Pinkowski. “If athletes want to run in races without pacers, there are several opportunities for them to do so.”
Organisers for the IAAF