CHICAGO, IL (September 15, 2009) � The Bank of America Chicago Marathon today announced its final roster of elite athletes headlined by reigning World Marathon Majors women's champion Irina Mikitenko (GER). The female competition also welcomes Japan's Mizuho Nasukawa, Russia's Liliya Shobukhova and Romania's Adriana Pirtea. The men's field deepened with the additions of Morocco's Abderrahim Goumri and Kenya's Vincent Kipruto.
Mikitenko arrives to Chicago having won the last three races in which she has competed all World Marathon Majors (London 2008, 2009 and Berlin 2008). Her dominance at the finish line earned her the 2007-08 World Marathon Majors championship and has her poised atop the current leaderboard. Her 2:19:19 personal best, set in Berlin last fall, is the fastest time among any of the females competing in Chicago this fall. Mikitenko's top competition is likely to come from 2004 Olympic bronze medalist Deena Kastor (USA), who joined the field in June with her sights on lowering the American record she set in 2006 (2:19:36).
�"I am greatly looking forward to racing in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon as it is one of the world's fastest courses, but my decision to run there is also part of a larger professional goal,"said Mikitenko from Germany. �"My hope is to win each of the five World Marathon Majors and a victory in Chicago would be the next big step toward that achievement."
�"Irina has been the most consistent marathon champion over the last two-and-a-half years with back-to-back victories in London and a 2008 Berlin win," said Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski. �"It has been amazing to watch her grow in athleticism, strength and tactical approach to become the leading female in marathoning today. The combination of women we've brought together will make for an exciting race."
The women's field is not a two-woman race, however. Shobukhova is a rising star in the sport having posted a 2:24:24 in her debut performance, one that earned her third place among a strong 2009 London Marathon field. Pirtea is a contender as well with a solid Chicago history to her credit. Returning for her third consecutive year in Chicago, Pirtea is hungry to capture the victory that narrowly eluded her in 2007 when she took second behind two-time champion Berhane Adere (ETH). Not to be forgotten, returning champion Lidiya Grigoryeva (RUS) committed earlier this summer to make an attempt at retaining her 2008 crown and at becoming only the eighth woman in Chicago Marathon history to win the race more than once.
Kipruto, a 21-year-old from Kenya, adds intrigue to the men's field having captured the world's attention with a new course record (2:05:47) in his 2009 Paris Marathon victory, only his second marathon appearance.
Goumri will look to continue the Moroccan tradition in Chicago, mirroring the talents and top finishes of Abdelkader el Mouaziz, Khalid Khannouchi and Jaouad Gharib. As one of three men in the field with a sub-2:06 personal record (2:05:30), Goumri will challenge Kipruto and 2008 Olympic gold medalist Sammy Wanjiru, 22, who announced his intentions this summer to post a new personal record improving on the 2:05:10 he set in London this year.
Former Chicago champion Patrick Ivuti (2007) recently withdrew from competition due to minor injury.
The Bank of America Chicago Marathon has a history of producing some of the world's fastest times including four previous world records and more than 15 national records. With its flat, sleek course design, exceptional operational scheme and tradition of enthusiastic sports fans, the race is a lightning rod for the world's greatest athletes. With the addition of today's athletes the current field boasts two Olympic Marathon medals, three Chicago Marathon championships, 10 World Marathon Major race victories and one World Marathon Majors championship.
A complete roster of elite athletes for the October 11 Bank of America Chicago Marathon follows:
NameCountry Personal Best
Teyba ErkessoEthiopia 2:24:18
Lidiya Grigoryeva Russia 2:25:10
Carol Jefferson United States Debut
Deena KastorUnited States 2:19:36
Irina MikitenkoGermany 2:19:19
Tera Moody United States 2:33:54
Mizuho NasukawaJapan 2:25:38
Adriana Pirtea Romania 2:28:52
Liliya Shobukhova Russia 2:24:24
Melissa WhiteUnited States 2:37:53
NameCountry Personal Best
Boaz Cheboiywo Kenya 2:21:40
Evans Cheruiyot Kenya 2:06:25
Abderrahim Goumri Morocco 2:05:30
Procopio Franco Hernandez Mexico 2:11:42
Vincent Kipruto Kenya2:05:47
Wesley Korir Kenya 2:08:24
Benjamin Maiyo Kenya 2:07:09
Charles Munyeki Kenya Debut
Seth Pilkington United States Debut
Patrick RizzoUnited States 2:17:05
Bret Schoolmeester United States Debut
Tadese Tola Ethiopia Debut
Sammy Wanjiru Kenya 2:05:10
About the Bank of America Chicago Marathon
In its 32nd 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 $143 million economic impact to its host city. To extend that impact, the 2009 race has invited all participants and fans to get involved through a first-ever online fundraising campaign going on now through Oct. 9. By customizing a shoeprint at chicagomarathon.com/footprint, visitors select one of 22 charities to receive a dollar donation from Bank of America. The charity with the most submissions will also be granted an additional $10,000 donation in an announcement at the 27th Mile Post-Race Party on race day.
The 2009 Bank of America Chicago Marathon will start and finish in Chicago's Grant Park beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 11. In advance of the race, a two-day Health & Fitness Expo will be held at McCormick Place on Friday, October 9 and Saturday, October 10. More information on the race and how to get involved is available at the event Web site, chicagomarathon.com.