2010 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Features Strongest Elite Field in Event History
Deriba Merga and Feyisa Lilesa Round Out Men's Field
McFadden Returns to Defend Wheelchair Title; Van Dyk to Make Chicago Debut
Courtesy of the Chicago Marathon
September 30, 2010
CHICAGO - The Bank of America Chicago Marathon today announced its complete 2010 men's and women's elite field. The additions of Ethiopians Deriba Merga and Feyisa Lilesa to the men's competition significantly strengthen what was already shaping up to be the top field in the event's 33-year history. Merga, the 2009 Boston Marathon champion, and Lelisa, who has a personal best 2:05:23, will join forces with defending Bank of America Chicago Marathon champion Sammy Wanjiru of Kenya, London Marathon champion Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia and Boston Marathon champion Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot of Kenya.
A trio of Ethiopian athletes will take the women's competition to new heights as well: Astede Baysa, the two-time Paris Marathon champion, Askale Tafa Magarsa, runner-up at the 2008 Berlin Marathon, and Mamitu Daksa, the 2010 Dubai Marathon champion, have been added to a field that already includes defending Bank of America Chicago Marathon champion Liliya Shobukhova of Russia, London and Berlin Marathon champion Irina Mikitenko of Germany, and top American Magdalena Lewy-Boulet.
"The best field in Bank of America Chicago Marathon race history just got even better," said Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski. "The depth of talent in the marathon is at an all-time high at the national and international levels. These athletes are hungry to compete against one another and this year's field will bring a new level of excitement to the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. The stage is set for a historic race on 10-10-10."
The welcoming of Merga adds even more intrigue to the race's impact on the 2009-2010 World Marathon Majors series standings as third-ranked Merga (35 points) is one of the only athletes in reach of surpassing top-ranked Wanjiru and Kebede (50 points each) before the series concludes in November in New York.
Twenty-year-old Lilesa is one of the most exiting young athletes in the sport. He ran near-world record pace through 35 kilometers at the Rotterdam Marathon in April before finishing fourth in 2:05:23, making him the youngest man in history to break 2:06 for the marathon.
Additional entrants in the men's field include Kenya's Shadrack Biwott, former standout at the University of Oregon and brother of Duncan Kibet, the second fastest marathon runner of all time; Kenya's Wesley Korir, two-time Los Angeles Marathon champion; Ethiopia's Negari Terfa, third place finisher at the 2009 Berlin Marathon; and American Nick Arciniaga, who ran 2:11:46 at the San Diego Marathon, the fourth-ranked time in the U.S. for 2010.
Elite Wheelchair Competition
The elite wheelchair competition welcomes back defending champion Tatyana McFadden of the United States to the women's race.
McFadden, a member of the University of Illinois racing team, shocked the field last year in her marathon debut, outsprinting a field of seasoned veterans in the closest finish in the event's history with the top five women all finishing within three seconds of one another. McFadden will be challenged by her University of Illinois teammate, Amanda McGrory, the 2007 and 2008 Bank of America Chicago Marathon champion.
South Africa's Ernst Van Dyk highlights the men's elite wheelchair race. Van Dyk, who will be making his first appearance in Chicago, has notched marathon victories world-wide, including New York City, Paris, Los Angeles and Boston, where he is the event's most decorated champion with nine victories. Van Dyk's toughest competition will come from another Bank of America Chicago Marathon newcomer, Heinz Frei of Switzerland, one of the sport's great champions and recorder of the fastest time ever achieved on a flat course marathon (1:20:14). Frei is a three-time winner of the London Marathon and a 14-time Paralympic Games gold medalist.
A complete roster of elite athletes for the 2010 Bank of America Chicago Marathon follows:
Sammy Wanjiru KEN 2:05:10
Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot KEN
Juan Carlos Romero MEX
Askale Tafa Magarsa ETH
Magdalena Lewy-Boulet USA
Colleen De Reuck
Masazumi Soejima JPN
Ernst Van Dyk
Kelsey LeFevour USA
Tatyana McFadden USA
Amanda McGrory USA
About the Bank of America Chicago Marathon
In its 33rd 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 field and a world class elite wheelchair field, and 1.7 million spectators. As a result of its national and international draw, the iconic race assists in raising $10 million for a variety of charitable causes while generating a $150 million 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 2010 Bank of America Chicago Marathon will start and finish in Chicago's Grant Park beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, October 10. In advance of the race, a two-day Health & Fitness Expo will be held at McCormick Place Convention Center on Friday, October 8 and Saturday, October 9. More information on the race and how to get involved is available at the event Web site, chicagomarathon.com.