How Fast Can they Go at Chicago Marathon?

Great Weather Has Favorites Talking Big + Big Expectations for Conner Mantz and Emily Sisson

By Mike Knapp
October 7, 2022

CHICAGO – Typically marathon runners are pretty coy about their intentions heading into a race weekend.

Not this weekend. With the weather looking solid for the 44th Bank of America Chicago Marathon Sunday, many on the men’s side made their intentions clear: Dennis Kimetto’s course record of two hours, three minutes, 45 seconds is their target.

With two men in the field with PBs under Kimetto’s winning time in 2013, and a gaggle more around or just above it, there was a lot of confidence on the dais at the Elite Athlete Press Conference.

“I think the performances we’ve seen in Berlin and London (the last two weeks) have energized our field and I think the mindset is everyone wants to go fast,” said Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski. “The weather looks promising and I hope we have some great racing on Sunday.

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“Out of great competition brings great performances.”

Great Weather Expected

Women's elite field at 2022 Chicago Marathon Women’s elite field

About the weather: temperatures will be in the low-50s at the start of the race and most likely cross the 60-degree mark by the time the men’s and women’s winners will cross the finish line. While it may be a touch humid at the beginning of the race, that isn’t expected to have that much of an effect.

Even more promising is the wind. Chicago is unique among the World Marathon Majors in that much of the course up to the halfway point is run in the core of the downtown area among the tall buildings, which can whip the wind around. It also leaves the potential for the competitors to be dealing with a headwind as they make the final push up Michigan Avenue to the finish.

This year, the predicted 7-12 mph winds will be from the southeast, which could be a bit of an assistance over the final few miles.

Seifu Tura, the returning champion on the men’s side having won in 2:06:12, made a late move to win the race last year, but concedes that might not be an option this time around. Tura has had a solid 2022, finishing second at Paris in April and sixth at the World Championships in July. He also turned in a 58:36 half marathon back in February.

“The marathon is difficult race, and it’s easy to make move closer to end,” Tura said. “I’m still going to be waiting until later in the race, but with the athletes in the field this year, it could be different from last year. I will be deciding (my tactics) as I go along.”

The fastest man in the field is Herpasa Negasa (2:03:40). Negasa, who has never won a World Marathon Major, seemed confident and relaxed, even smiling when he was asked if he thought he would go sub-2:05.

Ruth Chepngetich Leads Women’s Field

On the women’s side, Ruth Chepngetich returns as defending champion, heads a field of two women (including herself) who have run sub-2:20 and seven women with PBs of 2:22 or lower. Like her counterparts, she is ready to run fast.

Chepngetich has four marathon wins, and ran 2:17:18 at Nagoya in March, just 10 seconds off her pb from 2019 Dubai. A PB is certainly a possibility, but what is her limit?

“It’s possible to challenge the world record (2:14:04, set by Brigid Kosgei in Chicago in 2019),” she said. “The weather is good and I think I can feed off of the crowd.”

How Fast can Mantz and Sisson Go?

Conner Mantz and Emily Sisson at 2022 Chicago Marathon Conner Mantz and Emily Sisson at 2022 Chicago Marathon

Also looking to set records are Americans Conner Mantz and Emily Sisson. Mantz, who comes to his marathon debut with impressive XC and track credentials, has his eye on Leonard Korir’s American debut mark of 2:07:56, which was set in Amsterdam in 2019.

“All of my races and workouts have led up to this distance,” Mantz said. “I get excited thinking about it but I need to remember my first marathon and there are some unknowns.”

Sisson, who set the American women’s record in the half-marathon with a 1:07:11 at the USATF Half-marathon Championships in Indianapolis in May, only has one completed marathon under her belt – a 2:23:08 at London in 2019 (she dropped out of the 2020 Olympic Trials)– but has her eyes on the women’s American record of 2:19:12, which was set this past January by Keira D’Amato in Houston.

“My first marathon experience was really positive, and I really enjoyed it,” Sisson said. “After my first marathon in London I was drawn back to it and really want to see what I can do.

“My main goal is to try to break 2:20. If I’m feeling good and the record is in striking range I’ll take a stab at it. I had a really good buildup without any big setbacks. The weather for the weekend looks great, and I don’t know how many times I’ll have that, so I might as well take a swing at it.”

The race is set to start at 7:30 AM Sunday, and will be shown locally on NBC and streamed on Peacock.

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