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2008 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Announces Elite Field
2008 Olympic Women's Marathon Gold Medalist Constantina Tomescu-Dita Tops List
by: Chicago Marathon


CHICAGO (September 9, 2008) - Bank of America today announced the elite field of male and female athletes scheduled to compete for the 2008 Bank of America Chicago Marathon® championship titles on Sunday, Oct. 12. Topping the list is newly crowned Olympic women's marathon gold medalist Constantina Tomescu-Dita of Romania and up-and-comer William Kipsang of Kenya who currently holds the 11th all-time fastest marathon finish time, fifth-fastest this year (2:05:49).

At age 38, Tomescu-Dita became the oldest woman to ever win the gold medal in the 26.2-mile Olympic contest. Familiar to Chicagoans, Tomescu-Dita won the 2004 ChicagoMarathon and her 2008 appearance will mark her fifth on the notoriously fast and flat course. In her last two Chicago appearances, Tomescu-Dita finished second to American Deena Kastor (2005) and led the 2006 women's field at course record pace  (sub-2:17) through mile 16 before being surpassed by eventual champion Berhane Adere (ETH) in the 22nd mile.


"I am delighted to be returning to Chicago. I have always felt great running there and have been fortunate to have some of the best races of my life there," said Tomescu-Dita from Romania shortly following her Olympic victory in Beijing. "It will also be nice to return because I understand Chicago is bidding for the 2016 Olympic Games and I think it would be a wonderful place to have them."


Tomescu-Dita will be challenged by 2007 Chicago Marathon runner-up and fellow Romanian Adriana Pirtea, 28, and up-and-comer Bezunesh Bekele, 25, of Ethiopia. Chicago fans will recognize Pirtea who came into the final stretch last year with a sizeable lead. As she pumped her arm in victory a few hundred meters from the finish, returning 2006 Chicago champ Adere streaked up behind her unnoticed until she was uncatchable in the final strides to repeat her championship finish. Bekele will follow-up her impressive debut at the Dubai Marathon entering the Chicago race with a 2:23:09 personal record, second in the field only to Tomescu-Dita.   


On the men's side, William Kipsang, 31, is the man to beat arriving off a 2:05:49 first-place finish at the Rotterdam Marathon in April. Kenya's Emmanuel Mutai, 30, will put some pressure on Kipsang considering his fourth-place finish at the Flora London Marathon in April where he set a personal record (2:06:15). Also expected to be in the mix is fellow countryman Richard Limo who finished second to Mutai at last year's Amsterdam Marathon, crossing the line only 16 seconds behind the champion.


 "The Bank of America Chicago Marathon has a reputation for producing historic efforts and breathtaking finishes and the quality of this year's elite field is an extension of that tradition," said Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski of Chicago Event Management, now in his 19th year overseeing the event. "This year's men's field features four men who have run under 2:07:00, one who has run under 2:06:00 and champions from some of the great marathons of the world which should produce another great day of marathon running on Oct. 12."


Representing the United States in Chicago are Kate O'Neill and Colleen De Reuck. O'Neill, 28, will return to the site of her 2007 debut at the marathon distance, looking to best her time of 2:36:15 on the Chicago course. Masters runner Colleen De Reuck, 44, will return for her sixth Chicago Marathon.


The elite racers will start the 26.2-mile Bank of AmericaChicagoMarathon course at 7:55 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 12, five minutes in advance of the massive field of 45,000 registered runners. Following is the current list of elite athletes who will compete for the $125,000 first-place prize distributed to the top male and female overall winners.


2008 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Elite Field


Name                                      Citizenship      Personal Record


Bezunesh Bekele                       ETH                 2:23:09

Alevtina Biktimirova                  RUS                 2:25:12

Colleen De Reuck                     USA                 2:26:35

Zoila Gomez                              USA                 2:33:53

Lidiya Grigoryeva                    RUS                 2:25:10

Kate O'Neill                             USA                 2:36:15

Adriana Pirtea                          ROU                2:28:52

Kiyoko Shimahara                     JPN                  2:26:14

Worknesh Tola                          ETH                 2:25:37

Constantina Tomescu-Dita         ROU                2:21:30



Moses Arusei                           KEN                2:06:50

Christopher Cheboiboch             KEN                2:08:17

Timothy Cherigat                       KEN                2:09:34

James Getanda                         KEN                2:11:50

Salim Kipsang                          KEN                2:07:29

William Kipsang                        KEN                2:05:49

Richard Limo                          KEN                2:06:45

Emmanuel Mutai                       KEN                2:06:15


Bank of America is recognized as a leading financial partner, advisor and sponsor across the American sports landscape. As a world-class financial institution with a dedicated Sports Finance and Advisory team, we help owners, leagues and franchises address their full range of needs - from building stadiums to redesigning their capital structure.


As a sports marketing leader, Bank of America proudly serves as the Official Bank of Major League Baseball®, the Official Bank of NASCAR®, the Official Bank of the NFL®, and the Official Bank Sponsor of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team®, while supporting an expansive nationwide sponsorship portfolio that includes the Bank of America 500®, Bank of America Chicago Marathon® and a variety of arts and cultural programming.


Bank of AmericaChicagoMarathon

The 2008 Bank of America Chicago Marathon will start and finish in Chicago's Grant Park beginning with the wheelchair race at 7:50 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 12. Registration opened to the public on Feb. 1 and closed on April 23 when the participant capacity of 45,000 was reached. In advance of the race, a two-day Health & Fitness Expo will be held at McCormick Place on Friday, Oct. 10 and Saturday, Oct. 11. In its 31st year, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon annually attracts 45,000 runners, 1.5 million spectators  and 125,000 Expo visitors and generates more than $10 million for charities. The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is one of the five races that comprise the World Marathon Majors. More information on the race and how to get involved is available at chicagomarathon.com.


Bank of America

Bank of America is one of the world's largest financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and middle market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk-management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving more than 59 million consumer and small business relationships with more than 6,100 retail banking offices, more than 18,500 ATMs and award-winning online banking with more than 25 million active users. Bank of America offers industry leading support to more than 4 million small business owners through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients in more than 150 countries and has relationships with 99 percent of the U.S. Fortune 500 companies and 83 percent of the Fortune Global 500. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.



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