2013 Chicago Marathon Preview

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Updated: October 9, 2013

Chicago, IL (Sports Network) – Race two of the World Marathon Major series is
scheduled for this Sunday through streets of downtown Chicago. The race starts
and ends on Columbus Drive and winds through the Loop before heading north to
Lincoln Park, finally ending with a run up Michigan Avenue.

The race will feature a solid elite men’s division, headed up by a trio of
Kenyans – Moses Mosop, Dennis Kimetto and Emannuel Mutai. However, one absentee
from the race will be the defending champion Tsegaye Kebede, who had one of the
most remarkable stretch runs last year. Kebede actually trailed the leader by
43 seconds, by exploded in the final 4 1/2 miles to win by 29 seconds in a
personal-best time of 2 hours, 4 minutes and 38 seconds. Kebede will sit out
this race after winning the London Maraton earlier this year, but should be
ready to go in November for the New York City Marathon.

The hottest of the Kenyans right now is Kimetto, who won the Tokyo Marathon in
course-record time earlier this year and was a second-place finisher in the
2012 Berlin Marathon.

As for Mosop, he shoots for his second Chicago Marathon victory in the last
three years. The 28-year-old Mosop was an easy winner back in 2011, when he set
a course-record at 2 hours, 5 minutes and 37 seconds. An selection to the 2012
Kenyan Olympic team and injury kept him from defending his title. However,
Mosop is glad to be back and will be aiming for regain his course-record title,
currently held by Kebede.

Among the other elite runners in the men’s field are Sammy Kitwara, who was
fifth in Chicago in 2012, and Eliud Ngetich, both from Kenya, Yoshinori Oda of
Japan, Ethiopia’s Tilahun Regassa, winner of the 2013 Rotterdam Marathon and
Ayele Abshero of Kenya, who ranks among the top 11 marathon performers of all
time.

The U.S. best hopes rides with Dathan Ritzehein (Portland, OR), the third
fastest American of all time and two-time Olympian Matt Tegenkamp (Summit, MO).
Ritzenheim, 13th in the 10,000m at the London Olympics, had a solid ninth-place
finish at the last year’s Chicago Marathon and was the fastest non-African
runner in the field.

The last American to win the Men’s division was Khalid Khannouchi of New York
in 2002. He also won the race in 2000.

Last year in the women’s division, saw one of the most dramatic finishes in
Chicago history. Ethiopia’s Atsede Baysa battled Kenya’s Rita Jeptoo stride
for stride before Baysa earned the one-second victory. Baysa also is a two-time
winner at the Paris Marathon and was runner-up in Chicago in 2010. Earlier this
year, Jeptoo cruised to a 33-second victory at the Boston Marathon, her second
title in Beantown in seven years.

The question remains, “If not Baysa or Jeptoo, then whom”? The field is loaded
with “could bes and might bes”, but some of the top runners include Kenya’s
Jemima Sumgong (2013 Rotterdam winner), Japan’s Yukiko Akaba (2011 Osaka
winner), Russia’s Maria Konovalova (5th fastest in the world) and the Chinese
duo of Chao Yue and Jingxia Zhang.

The two top Americans in the field are expected to be Stephanie Pezzullo
(Charlotte, NC) and Clara Santucci (Morgantown, WV). Americans have won the
female division 12 times in 36 years, the last being Deena Kastor of California
in 2005.

NOTES: Last year, there were 85 countries represented at the Chicago Marathon;
this year the total is 129…About 10,000 runners in the field come from
outside of the United States…There will be at least one runner from each of
the 50 United States…The most represented state, not including Illnois, will
be Indiana at 1,360…The top foreign country entree is Mexico, followed by
Canada.