American Record Alert? Emily Sisson Is Ready for the 2022 Chicago Marathon

"We’re hoping around 69:30 [for a halfway split]," Treacy said. "Get to 20 miles, see where you are, see how you’re feeling and then hang on or pick it up."

By Jonathan Gault
October 6, 2022

American distance fans, it's time to get excited. Conner Mantz and Emily Sisson, two of the United States' best long distance runners, will run the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Sunday, and both have the potential to do something special in the Windy City this weekend. Mantz, 25, is openly talking about the US debut record of 2:07:56 set by Leonard Korir in 2019, while Sisson, 30, is hoping to become just the third American woman under the 2:20 barrier.

I preview Sisson's possible American record attempt below. Mantz's debut gets its own article here: LRC American Marathon Debut Record? Conner Mantz Set to Rock 2022 Chicago Marathon.

All indications suggest those goals are attainable in Chicago. Sisson, who dominated the competition to win the 10,000 meters at last summer's Olympic Trials, has won US titles in the 15K and half marathon in 2022, setting the American record of 67:11 in the latter in May.

What's more, her coach Ray Treacy is bullish about Sisson. He said that until this buildup, the fittest Sisson has ever been came when she competed at the Olympic Trials on the track in 2021. That may no longer be the case.

Independent journalism takes a lot of time and resources. After 24 hours, feature articles like this are moved behind our Supporters Club paywall. So be sure to come to LetsRun.com each and every day or support independent journalism by signing up for the SC today to get access to this article. You'll get access to all of our content including a bonus weekly podcast, a free t-shirt, a free base training plan and exclusive forum features. US visitors will also save 20% on shoes.

Join Our Supporters Club To Keep Reading

Sign up today to access exclusive Supporters Club content, bonus podcasts, discounts, and enhanced forums.

Choose the Annual Subscription for a bonus 12-week training program and free t-shirt.

“We’re hoping around 69:30 [for a halfway split],” Treacy said. “Get to 20 miles, see where you are, see how you’re feeling and then hang on or pick it up.”

By Jonathan Gault
October 6, 2022

American distance fans, it’s time to get excited. Conner Mantz and Emily Sisson, two of the United States’ best long distance runners, will run the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Sunday, and both have the potential to do something special in the Windy City this weekend. Mantz, 25, is openly talking about the US debut record of 2:07:56 set by Leonard Korir in 2019, while Sisson, 30, is hoping to become just the third American woman under the 2:20 barrier.

Article continues below player
Like this article? Subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on social media
The latest running news, sent to your inbox weekly or when urgent news breaks.

You have been subscribed.

I preview Sisson’s possible American record attempt below. Mantz’s debut gets its own article here: LRC American Marathon Debut Record? Conner Mantz Set to Rock 2022 Chicago Marathon.

All indications suggest those goals are attainable in Chicago. Sisson, who dominated the competition to win the 10,000 meters at last summer’s Olympic Trials, has won US titles in the 15K and half marathon in 2022, setting the American record of 67:11 in the latter in May.

What’s more, her coach Ray Treacy is bullish about Sisson. He said that until this buildup, the fittest Sisson has ever been came when she competed at the Olympic Trials on the track in 2021. That may no longer be the case.

“I think she’s in better shape right now, or at least in as good of shape,” Treacy said. “We’ll see what Sunday brings.”

So yes, there’s plenty for US fans to be excited about, not just on Sunday in Chicago but in the years to come as Mantz begins his marathon career and Sisson resumes hers.

Restarting a promising marathon career

Sisson was hailed as the next big thing in American marathoning when she debuted in London in 2019. Her time in that race was 2:23:08 (no supershoes), just eight seconds shy of Jordan Hasay‘s US debut record. But in the ensuing three years, Sisson has yet to finish a marathon. What happened?

Well, a lot of things. The marathon portion of Sisson’s career has been a struggle post-2019. She cratered on the hills of Atlanta at the 2020 Olympic Trials and wound up dropping out of the race. Then she withdrew from her next marathon, 2021 New York, with a knee injury. When she steps to the start line in Chicago on Sunday, 1,260 days will have passed since her last marathon finish.

Embed from Getty Images

What Sisson has accomplished over the last two years at shorter distances, however, is a reminder of just how good she can be. In June 2021, she absolutely buried three of America’s top distance runners — Karissa SchweizerAlicia Monson, and Elise Cranny — to win the US title at 10,000 by 13 seconds. This year, she ran 47:24 to win the US 15K title in March (#3 on the US all-time list), ran an American record of 67:11 in the half in May, and ran 64:35 to finish 2nd at the US 20K champs (68:37 half pace) on September 5, just six seconds behind Keira D’Amato, who went on to run 2:21:48 on an “off” day at the Berlin Marathon two weeks ago.

In between in June, Sisson had a few subpar road results by her lofty standards after getting COVID in March (32:03 at BAA 10K, 31:43 downhill for 7th at NY Mini 10K), but she has been rejuvenated since relocating from Flagstaff to Providence at the end of June. Treacy says she has had no setbacks of any kind and has been encouraged by her ability to post strong race results (she also ran 25:08 at the Bobby Doyle 5-Miler on August 14) without backing off in training. Add it all up and Treacy expects a time much faster than Sisson delivered in her debut.

“She’s older and stronger right now,” Treacy said. “Workouts have gone a little bit better. She’s had a lot more volume. That’s why I think she’ll run much better on Sunday than she did in London…I’m hoping sub-2:20. With the [super] shoes and the training behind her, I would think that’s [worth] at least three minutes.”

What about Sisson’s last marathon? Does she carry any scars from her DNF at the Trials?

Treacy says no.

“She knows that [Atlanta] course would never suit her…but a course like Chicago, London, those type of courses, she’s a great rhythm runner,” Treacy says

Sisson will have two male pacers — Brian Harvey, who accompanied her on her half marathon AR in Indianapolis, and Brit Jonny Mellor, a British 2:10 marathoner who should be able to go the entire way on Sunday if needed. Treacy said the plan is for Sisson to go out and run sub-5:20 miles for as long as possible (5:20/mile is 2:19:50 pace). The American record, it must be mentioned, is D’Amato’s 2:19:12 from January. That is not Sisson’s primary aim; the big goal is to break 2:20. But if Sisson is within range and feeling good late in the race, it could come under attack.

“We’re hoping around 69:30 [for a halfway split],” Treacy said. “Get to 20 miles, see where you are, see how you’re feeling and then hang on or pick it up.”

Will Sisson break 2:20? Will she break the American record? The conditions look promising (45-50F, 10-11 mph winds). Vote in our poll and then talk about her chances on our messageboard.

How fast will Emily Sisson run in Chicago?

Your vote has been counted. Thank you!

MB: Emily Sisson’s buildup has been spectacular. She plans on going out in 69:30. Will she get the AR?

More: American Marathon Debut Record? Conner Mantz Set to Rock 2022 Chicago Marathon It’s not very often that an American with multiple NCAA crowns and a 13:10 5000 pb makes his marathon debut in the prime of his career, but that’s happening this week for Conner Mantz. Mantz’s debut is the biggest for an American since Galen Rupp.

Complete 2022 Chicago Marathon Coverage

Like this article? Subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on social media

The latest running news, sent to your inbox weekly or when urgent news breaks.

You have been subscribed.