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LaSalle Bank Announces 2007 Chicago Women's Field: Benita Johnson Headlines
by: Chicago Marathon

September  17,  2007,  CHICAGO  –  The  LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon today announced  its  elite  field  of  female  runners that will contend for the championship  on  Sunday,  Oct.  7.  Leading the field is Australian record holder  Benita  Johnson who returns to the course where she set the 2:22:36 mark in 2006.

“Benita  is  relatively  new  to  the  marathon  distance,  but has quickly established  a  reputation  for  herself  by  tackling  three  of  the  top competitions  in the world in Chicago, New York and London,” said Executive Race  Director  Carey  Pinkowski. “Several women are going to challenge her however  as we have four making their marathon debut and veterans like Nuta Olaru  and  Alevtina Ivanova with their eyes on the championship. This race is impossible to call as everything becomes a factor. It all depends on how things develop on race day.”

Johnson,  28,  delivered  her  best marathon performance in less-than-ideal weather conditions in The 2006 LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon, placing third and   setting   a  new  national  record  for  Australia  (2:22:36).  After establishing a solid track resume, Johnson debuted at the marathon distance at  the  2004  ING  New York City Marathon, finishing in 14th place. At the 2005 Flora London Marathon, she shaved 12 minutes off her time to finish in 2:26:32.  If  the  weather  cooperates in Chicago next month, Johnson could improve her time yet again.

Nuta  Olaru  (ROU), 37, is a veteran of the marathon distance with 13 World Marathon  Major  race  appearances  under  her  belt. Her 2007 LaSalle Bank Chicago  Marathon  performance  will be her fifth in the Windy City, having set her personal record on the course in 2004 (2:24:33).

Alevtina Ivanova (RUS), 32, will arrive at the start line fresh off setting a new personal record (2:27:48) in taking first place at the Nagano Olympic Commemorative  Marathon  in  April.  No stranger to the podium, Ivanova has placed in the top 3 in six of her 10 marathon appearances.

The complete list of female athletes set to compete as of today is as follows:

Name                    Country           Personal Record
Kathy Butler            GBR               2:28:29
Teyba Erkesso           ETH               Debut
Alevtina Ivanova        RUS               2:27:48
Benita Johnson          AUS               2:22:36
Nuta Olaru              ROM               2:24:33
Kate O’Neill            USA               Debut
Adriana Pirtea          ROU               Debut
Dulce Maria Rodríguez   MEX               2:28:54
Jess Ruthe              NZL               Debut
Linda Somers Smith      USA               2:30:06
Liz Yelling             GBR               2:30:44

The  LaSalle  Bank  Chicago  Marathon  has  produced  some  of the greatest performances  in marathon history with its fast, flat course and reputation for  recruiting  the  world’s  top  talent.  Over  its 29-year history, The LaSalle  Bank  Chicago Marathon has hosted four world records, six American records  and  numerous  other  national  records. In 2006 alone, four women posted  new  records  for  their countries (Australia, Russia, Ethiopia and Mexico).

For more information on athletes and the race, visit chicagomarathon.com.

About The LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon The  LaSalle  Bank  Chicago Marathon will celebrate its 30th anniversary on Sunday,  October  7, 2007 as 45,000 participants advance to the start line, embarking  on  the  culmination of 45,000 personal journeys. Along with the massive  field of recreational runners, the 26.2-mile course will welcome a full field of world renowned professional athletes drawn to the flat, fast, urban  setting  and  the potential to break world and national records. The professionals will compete for prize money and points in the World Marathon Majors  series  which  will  crown its first male and female champions with $500,000  each  at  the  close  of 2007. Since the inception of its charity program  in 2002, The LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon has generated more than $27.5  million for a variety of charitable causes including $9.5 million in the  2006  event alone. Registration for the race opened on January 1, 2007 and closed when it reached capacity on April 18.


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