Two-Time Olympic Medalist Galen Rupp and American Marathon Debut Record Holder Jordan Hasay Headline Strong Field of American Runners at the 40th Annual Bank of America Chicago Marathon
Running Legend and 1984 Olympic Marathon Gold Medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson Chasing Age Group World Record and Sub-Three Marathon
CHICAGO - The Bank of America Chicago Marathon announced today that several international running stars are joining its 40th anniversary elite athlete field. Leading the charge are defending champions Abel Kirui (KEN) and Florence Kiplagat (KEN). Their strongest challengers are current marathon and course record-holder Dennis Kimetto (KEN); current half marathon world record-holder Zersenay Tadese (ERI); and three-time Olympic gold medalist, current 5000m world record-holder, and the third-fastest woman in history over 42K, Tirunesh Dibaba (ETH).
"We wanted to put together a field this year that combined some of the best international and American athletes competing on the global stage today," said Bank of America Chicago Marathon Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski. "We have our defending champions back, the marathon and half marathon world record-holders, and a woman who has stood on top of more podiums than anyone else in the field. I expect to see some great performances that will continue the longstanding tradition of elite racing in Chicago."
Men's international field
Abel Kirui put on a show for fans in 2016 in a tactical race that witnessed extreme pace swings from 4:33 per mile to 5:24. After enduring more than 23 miles of erratic running, Kirui made a strong move that shook everyone in the field except 2015 champion Dickson Chumba (2015). Kirui held off Chumba by three seconds down the homestretch to claim his first Abbott World Marathon Majors win. Kirui boasts a personal best of 2:05:04 and a résumé that lends itself to thriving in tactical races without the use of "rabbits" or pacesetters. He took home a silver medal in the marathon from the 2012 London Olympic Games, and he won both the 2009 and 2011 IAAF World Marathon Championships. In addition to his major championship wins, he won the 2008 Vienna Marathon, and he finished as the runner-up at the 2007 Berlin Marathon. He started his 2017 season with a fourth-place finish in London in 2:07:45.
Dennis Kimetto returns to Chicago for the first time since demolishing its course record in 2013. He clocked 2:03:45 to officially write himself into the record books and to continue his meteoric rise to the top. Prior to winning in Chicago, he ran the fastest marathon debut in history in Berlin in 2012 (2:04:16). And in 2014, he became the first athlete in history to break two hours and three minutes in the marathon. He clocked a head-turning 2:02:57 to set a new world record in Berlin. Kimetto has struggled to reach the podium since his world record performance, but a top finish in Chicago could revive his confidence and his career. Prior to making his global debut in 2011, he worked as a farmer.
Zersenay Tadese arrives in Chicago, beaming with untapped marathon potential. He reigns as the current half marathon world record-holder (58:23), and he is a four-time Olympian, a four-time IAAF World Half Marathon champion, a one-time IAAF World 20K champion (2006) and a one-time IAAF World Cross Country champion (2007). He won the bronze medal at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games in the 10,000m and he is the eighth-fastest man in history over the distance (26:37.25). Tadese has only finished three marathons: London in 2010 and 2012 and the Nike Breaking2 marathon this past spring (he recorded a DNF in Chicago in 2013 and Boston in 2015). While his official personal best is 2:10:41, he ran 2:06:51 in the Breaking2 marathon (times from the Nike Breaking2 marathon were not eligible for records). Given his speed over 10,000m and the half marathon, he should be in the hunt for a top finish.
Stephen Sambu (KEN) made his marathon debut in Chicago in 2016, finishing fifth in 2:13:35 (the winning time in 2016 was the slowest since 1993). He enters this year's race with more experience and with another Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K title to his name - he scored the hat trick in April when he claimed victory for the third time in a row. Sambu, the fastest man in the world over 8K, now owns the fourth-, sixth- and 14th-fastest times in Shamrock Shuffle 8K history. He is on a roll in 2017, opening his season with a fourth-place finish at the competitive NYC Half Marathon, and then claiming second at the Boston B.A.A. 5K and 10K, third at the San Juan World's Best 10K, and third at the NY Healthy Kidney 10K. Sambu regularly performs well, and after picking up back-to-back-to-back Shamrock Shuffle 8K titles, he is treated like a hometown hero by Chicago fans.
Kohei Mastsumura (JPN), Yuki Takamiya (JPN), Chihiro Miyawaki (JPN) and Ryoichi Matsuo (JPN) bring strong PRs to this year's field. Toshihiko Seko was the last and only runner from Japan to ever win the Chicago Marathon (1986), but Matsumura has the potential to compete with the best athletes in this year's field. He gained international notoriety in 2014 when he was the first runner from Japan across the line at the Tokyo Marathon, finishing eighth in 2:08:09. He made his international marathon debut at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games, where he finished second by just one second. He started his year with a fifth-place finish at the Otsu Lake Biwa Marathon in2:11:04. This October marks his first time competing outside of Asia. Takamiya set his personal best, 2:10:57, at the 2016 Tokyo Marathon, and he started his season with a 2:11:05 at the 2017 Tokyo Marathon. The Chicago Marathon will be his fifth marathon and his first time competing in America. Miyawaki has strong half marathon speed with a personal best of 1:00:53, and he remains a relative novice at the marathon distance. He made his debut in 2014 in 2:11:50, and he didn't run another marathon until this year. He should be ripe for a new personal best. Matsuo returns to Chicago after a disappointing run in 2016 that saw him finish 14th in 2:18:50. He owns a personal best of 2:12:11, and he has won three marathons in Japan: Otawara (2012) and Nobeoka (2016, 2017). Since making his marathon debut in 2012, he has run 14 marathons.
Jordan Chipangama (ZAM) started competing internationally for Zambia in 2005 as a junior athlete. Since then, he has represented Zambia at the 2013 IAAF World Marathon Championships and the 2016 Rio Olympics. He competed collegiately for Northern Arizona University and then made a smooth transition to the roads. In 2015, he won the San Jose and San Diego Rock 'n' Roll half marathons and finished third at Grandma's Marathon, setting his current personal best of 2:11:35. He started 2017 with a pair of ninth-place finishes at the Daegu Marathon and Grandma's Marathon.