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Jaouad Gharib, Felix Limo, and Evans Rutto Headline 30th LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon
From: Chicago Marathon

September  12,  2007,  CHICAGO    The  LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon today announced  the  first  installment  of its elite field of runners that will contend  for the championship on Sunday, Oct. 7. Among the men's roster are former  Chicago  champions  Evans Rutto (KEN; 2003 and 2004) and Felix Limo (KEN;  2005).  Set  to challenge the former victors are Korean Bong-ju Lee, Moroccan  Jaouad Gharib and Kenyan Daniel Njenga Muturi who has finished in the top three in Chicago the last five years.

"The  LaSalle  Bank Chicago Marathon's tradition of attracting the greatest athletes  in the sport continues in 2007," remarked Executive Race Director Carey  Pinkowski.  "The  men's  field  is anchored by athletes who have had great  success  in Chicago, including former champions Felix Limo and Evans Rutto and top finishers Ben Maiyo and Daniel Njenga. The athletic abilities of  Bong-ju  Lee  and  Jaouad  Gharib  add  to  that excitement and further indicate   that   the  eventual  champion  times  will  have  to  be  fast. Collectively,  this  field  means  exciting  things  for  our 30th year and perhaps our best race yet."

Limo  is  an  established  champion  with  four  victories  under his belt, including  three  World Marathon Major races. After two consecutive wins in The  2005 LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon and the 2006 Flora London Marathon, he  withdrew from the 2006 Chicago race with a lingering back injury. After taking  third in London this spring, Limo has his sights set on Chicago and the opportunity to reclaim his crown.

Rutto  made history in his first Chicago appearance in 2003, also his debut at the marathon distance. By breaking the tape in 2:05:50, The 2003 LaSalle Bank  Chicago  Marathon  champion  also  set a new world record for a debut performance  that  remains  today.  The  win  marked  his  first  of  three consecutive  major  victories  with a championship in the 2004 Flora London Marathon and a repeat in Chicago that fall.

In  only  his  second  marathon  appearance,  Gharib  shocked  the world by smashing a 20-year-old IAAF World Championships record at the 2003 marathon (2:08:31).  He  returned  to  the  championships  in  2005 to reiterate his status, becoming only the second man in history to win two consecutive IAAF World  Championships  Marathons.  With  four  sub-2:08  performances to his credit, Gharib will be a solid contender in Chicago.

Lee  arrives  in Chicago fresh off winning the Seoul International Marathon championship  in March, his seventh career victory. Highlighting his career is  his  1996  Atlanta  Olympic  silver  medal  performance and wins at the Boston,  Asian  Games  and Fukuoka marathons. An established winner, Lee is likely to challenge the leaders in his Chicago debut.

Daniel  Njenga Muturi is well-known in Chicago as a top three finisher over the  past five years, including his personal best in 2002 (2:06:16). Hungry to  break  the  tape  on Columbus Drive, Njenga Muturi followed last year's runner-up  Chicago  finish  with a win in the Tokyo Marathon, the second of his career.

Ben  Maiyo  and Jimmy Muindi are also no strangers to the Windy City. Maiyo finished  second in 2005 behind Limo with his personal record (2:07:09) and Muindi  will make his fifth Chicago appearance to follow-up his third-place finish in 2006.

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

Name                    Country           Personal Record
Bong-ju Lee             KOR               2:07:20
Jaouad Gharib           MAR               2:07:02
Tariku Jufar            ETH               2:12:49
James Koskei            KEN               2:14:02
Felix Limo              KEN               2:06:14
Benjamin Maiyo          KEN               2:07:09
Jimmy Muindi            KEN               2:07:50
Daniel Njenga Muturi    KEN               2:06:16
Evans Rutto             KEN               2:05:50
Daniel Yego             KEN               2:08:16

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.


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