Chicago, IL 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. Defending Bank of America Chicago Marathon 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 in the 2010 Bank of America Chicago Marathon 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 November 7.
�"Bringing together these three great champions in the prime of their careers will make the 2010 Bank of America Chicago Marathon one of the most exciting races in the event's history," said Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski. �"Wanjiru, Kebede and Cheruiyot are young, accomplished and fearless, and they'll bring out the best in one another. With Bank of America's support, I'm proud to say that the current World Marathon Majors series could be decided right here in Chicago between these great rivals."
Also toeing the start line in Chicago will be Vincent Kipruto from Kenya, who placed third in last year's race.
Sammy Wanjiru, 23, arrived in Chicago last fall fresh off a victory and course record (2:05:10) at the 2009 Virgin London Marathon. In his first race on U.S. soil, the 2008 Olympic Marathon gold medalist 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."
After a runner-up finish to Wanjiru at the 2009 Virgin London Marathon, Tsegaye Kebede, 23, earned his first World Marathon Major victory at the same event this past April. Kebede, a proven champion, has notched victories at the 2008 Paris International Marathon and the 2008 and 2009 Fukuoka International Marathons, where he set a course record and personal best of 2:05:18 in 2009. He won the bronze medal at the 2008 Olympic Marathon in Beijing, and duplicated that feat at the 2009 IAAF World Championship Marathon in Berlin. The 2010 Bank of America Chicago Marathon will mark Kebede's first competition in the U.S.
�"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. The 2010 Bank of America Chicago Marathon will be Cheruiyot's first marathon since his breakthrough performance in the spring.
"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 reached the podium at last year's Bank of America Chicago Marathon with a third place finish. 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:
Name Country Personal Best
Sammy Wanjiru Kenya 2:05:10 (London, 2009)
Vincent Kipruto Kenya 2:05:13 (Rotterdam, 2010)
Tsegaye Kebede Ethiopia 2:05:18 (Fukuoka, 2009)
Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot Kenya 2:05:52 (Boston, 2010)
Ryan Hall United States 2:06:17 (London, 2008)
Bank of America Chicago Marathon
In its 33rd year and a member of the World Marathon Majors, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon annually attracts 45,000 runners, including a world class elite field, and 1.5 million spectators. As a result of its national and international draw, the iconic race assists in raising $10 million for a variety of charitable causes while generating an estimated $150 million economic impact to its host city. The 2010 Bank of America Chicago Marathon will start and finish in Chicago's Grant Park beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, October 10. In advance of the race, a two-day Health & Fitness Expo will be held at McCormick Place Convention Center on Friday, October 8 and Saturday, October 9. More information on the race and how to get involved is available at the event Web site, chicagomarathon.com.