The Bank of America Chicago Marathon today announced that five-time world champion Kenenisa Bekele will compete in his second marathon at the IAAF Gold Label Road Race in Chicago on 12 October.
In one of the most anticipated marathon debuts in history, Bekele raced into the record books in Paris earlier this year, clocking the sixth-fastest marathon debut with a course record of 2:05:03. Over a challenging course with several uphill climbs, Bekele ran uncontested from 30km to the finish.
“I am looking forward to coming back to America, and to running fast,” said Bekele, the world record-holder for 5000m and 10,000m. “I have heard great things about the fans in Chicago and the course.
“After my win in Paris, I understand the marathon distance a lot better and I will bring that experience to Chicago,” added the three-time Olympic gold medallist. “I know Chicago has a very fast course and, therefore, my goal is to break the course record of 2:03:45. After that, everything is possible.”
In a career spanning nearly 15 years, Bekele has raced on US soil – and always on the track – only five times. The Chicago Marathon, one of the fastest marathons in the world, has witnessed four world records, and Bekele is the ideal candidate to threaten Wilson Kipsang’s mark of 2:03:23.
“Kenenisa Bekele is one of the best, most versatile and exciting athletes competing on the global stage today,” said executive race director Carey Pinkowski. “Any time an athlete of Bekele’s calibre lines up to race, course records and world records are in jeopardy.
“We expect Bekele to put on a speed show, and it's not out of the question to think that Bekele could bring the world record back home to Chicago.”
Organisers for the IAAF