Running Legends Joan Benoit Samuelson and Deena Kastor Return to Chicago in 2015 – Kastor Wants Masters AR, Joanie Wants To Run Within 30 Minutes of Her 1985 AR

2015 Race Will Mark 30 Years Since Samuelson’s Historic American Record and 10 Years Since Kastor’s First Major Marathon Win

Press Release
July 8, 2015. Published July 10, 2015

CHICAGO, Jul 08, 2015 (BUSINESS WIRE) — The Bank of America Chicago Marathon announced today that legendary American runners Joan Benoit Samuelson and Deena Kastor will compete in the 38th running of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, on Sunday, October 11. Both athletes return to Chicago to commemorate the anniversaries of their victories, while also setting their sights on new challenges and fast times.

“Joan Benoit Samuelson and Deena Kastor are two iconic American marathoners,” said Carey Pinkowski, Bank of America Chicago Marathon executive race director. “These two athletes have inspired, and continue to inspire, generations of runners. We are proud to welcome them back to Chicago and can’t wait to see what they will do on October 11.”

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When Benoit Samuelson toed the start line of the 1985 Chicago Marathon, she faced one of the most competitive women’s fields in event history, including world record holder Ingrid Kristiansen of Norway, and Olympic bronze medalist and defending Chicago Marathon champion Rosa Mota of Portugal. Benoit Samuelson outran the competition with a winning time of 2:21:21 to establish a new course and American record. Benoit Samuelson’s American record stood until 2003, when it was broken by Deena Kastor.

“My goal has always been to run as fast as I can for as long as I can,” said Benoit Samuelson. “I continue to challenge myself with new goals and look within myself for the story I want to tell at the race. When I crossed the finish line in 1985, I never thought I would be competing in the same marathon 30 years later. My challenge for this year’s Bank of America Chicago Marathon is to run within 30 minutes of my fastest marathon and 1985 Chicago Marathon finishing time.”

Benoit Samuelson launched to the forefront of American running when she captured the gold medal at the inaugural women’s Olympic Marathon at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. This spring, she ran 2:54:03 at the Boston Marathon.

American distance star Deena Kastor is no stranger to racing on the streets of Chicago. Kastor made her Bank of America Chicago Marathon debut in 2005 with a thrilling victory against returning champion Constantina Tomescu-Dita of Romania. The two athletes battled to the finish, with Kastor claiming the top spot in 2:21:25. The win was Kastor’s first major marathon win, and is the fifth-fastest time ever run by an American woman. The following spring, Kastor established a new American record at the London Marathon with a time of 2:19:36. Kastor is the only American woman to run under 2:20.

“Racing in Chicago has always been special,” said Kastor. “It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since my first marathon win here. I’m proud to return the Bank of America Chicago Marathon this year to celebrate that accomplishment and continue to push myself towards new goals.”

Kastor will challenge herself once again this year at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. She returns with a goal of breaking the women’s American Masters record. This summer, Benoit Samuelson and Kastor will take part in the “Legends on the Lakefront” series. The series will bring legendary runners to Chicago’s lakefront path to speak about their experience running on the world’s stage, share running tips, and discuss marathon training with Bank of America Chicago Marathon participants and Chicago area runners.

About the Bank of America Chicago Marathon
In its 38th year, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon welcomes thousands of runners from more than 100 countries and all 50 states, including a world-class elite field, top regional and masters runners, race veterans, debut marathoners and charity runners. The race’s iconic course takes runners through 29 vibrant neighborhoods on an architectural and cultural tour of Chicago. In 2014, an estimated 1.7 million spectators lined the streets cheering on a record 40,659 runners from the start line to the final stretch down Columbus Drive. As a result of the race’s national and international draw, the Chicago Marathon assists in raising millions of dollars for a variety of charitable causes while generating $253 million in annual economic impact to its host city. The 2015 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, a member of the Abbott World Marathon Majors, will start and finish in Grant Park beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, October 11. In advance of the race, a two-day Abbott Health & Fitness Expo will be held at McCormick Place Convention Center on Friday, October 9, and Saturday, October 10. For more information about the event and how to get involved, go to