CHICAGO The Bank of America Chicago Marathon today announced U.S. Olympian Ryan Hall will compete in the 34th annual race on October 9, setting up a rematch against fellow sub 2:05 performer Moses Mosop of Kenya. Hall, who recorded a personal best 2:04:58 at the Boston Marathon in April, finishing behind Mosop's 2:03:06, will match strides against the world's best runners in Chicago as he begins his run up to the 2012 Olympic Games Marathon. The Mammoth Lakes, Calif., resident and recognized philanthropist also announced that he will donate any prize money earned in Chicago to his non-profit organization, The Hall Steps Foundation, to support anti-poverty programs in Kenya.
The Bank of America Chicago Marathon presents an invaluable opportunity for Hall, the 10th place finisher at the 2008 Olympic Marathon in Beijing, to compete on a global stage with the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon and the London Olympics on the horizon.
Hall will make his Bank of America Chicago Marathon debut after withdrawing from last year's event and taking an extended break from competition due to fatigue. He rebounded with authority in Boston, improving his personal best time by more than a minute.
�"I am excited to line up at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon at full strength, which I unfortunately wasn't able to do last year," said Hall. �"Every time I race against a world-class field I learn more about myself and continue to evolve as an athlete. The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is an important opportunity to work on some new things in my training and develop tools that will help me compete for an Olympic medal."
Bank of America Chicago Marathon Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski said, �"Ryan is a phenomenal athlete�one of the all-time great Americans�and it will be thrilling to watch him attack our flat and fast course with the support of the Chicago crowd behind him. He's going to get a good look at many of the same athletes he may face at the Olympic Games next summer, including a rematch against Moses six months after their historic performances in Boston."
Hall is the American record-holder in the half marathon (59:43) and has won numerous national titles from 12K cross country through the marathon, including a memorable victory at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials, where he covered the last 13.1 miles in 1:02:45 on the rolling hills of New York's Central Park. He has two fourth place finishes (2011 and 2010) and a third place finish (2009) at the Boston Marathon; he placed fourth at the 2009 New York City Marathon and fifth in London in 2008.
At the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, Hall is a threat to take down the American record of 2:05:38 held by Khalid Khannouchi, as well as the course record of 2:05:41 held by Kenya's Sammy Wanjiru. Hall's time of 2:04:58 is not recognized as an American record due to the Boston Marathon's point-to-point course layout and elevation drop of greater than one meter per kilometer.
In the tradition of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, which assisted in raising more than $12 million in 2010 for dozens of local, national and global causes, Hall has pledged to donate all his prize money to support anti-poverty efforts in Kenya through his nonprofit organization, The Hall Steps Foundation, and to do so in honor of his friend and two-time Bank of America Chicago Marathon champion Sammy Wanjiru, a Kenya native who passed away this year.
�"One of the reasons I decided to run the Bank of America Chicago Marathon is the event's continued support of important charitable causes," said Hall. �"Sara and I started The Hall Steps Foundation in 2009 and the kind of outreach the Bank of America Chicago Marathon engages in with the nonprofit community here in Chicago and around the world is important to us and important to our foundation."
Hall invited others to join him and his fundraising efforts by running the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on behalf of The Halls Steps Foundation. For those who have not yet registered, The Hall Steps Foundation has entries into the sold-out event. For those who have already registered but are not yet running for charity, Hall also invited them to join the Hall Steps team and to dedicate their race to a charitable cause. For more information, go to www.thestepsfoundation.org.
In addition to The Hall Steps Foundation, the following three charities also have entries into the sold-out Bank of America Chicago Marathon until September 1: American Red Cross, Chicago Diabetes Project Cellmates on the Run, and Ronald McDonald House Charities. To learn more, go to www.chicagomarathon.com/runforcharity.
The Bank of America Chicago Marathon also announced that Kenya's Wesley Korir, two-time winner of the Los Angeles Marathon, will join its elite field. Korir, a graduate of the University of Louisville, has three top 10 finishes in Chicago, including a fourth place finish last year. He set a personal best 2:08:24 in winning the 2009 L.A. Marathon.
About the Bank of America Chicago Marathon
In its 34th year and a member of the World Marathon Majors, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon annually attracts 45,000 participants, including a world-class elite runner and wheelchair field, and an estimated 1.7 million spectators. As a result of its national and international draw, each year, the iconic race assists in raising millions for a variety of charitable causes while generating $150 million in economic impact to its host city according to a report by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (R.E.A.L.). The 2011 Bank of America Chicago Marathon will start and finish in Chicago's Grant Park beginning at 7:30 a.m. on October 9. In advance of the race, a two-day Health & Fitness Expo will be held at McCormick Place Convention Center on October 7-8.