Saturday, October 9, 2010

2010 Bank of America Chicago Marathon: Elite Men Highlights

In his 21st year as Executive Race Director, Carey Pinkowski has once again assembled an all-star cast of elite athletes for 2010, making this year’s ield the fastest and most decorated international field in Bank of America Chicago Marathon history.
Defending champions Sammy Wanjiru and Liliya Shobukhova are back to reclaim their titles, but a deep and talented ield including several of the world’s fastest men and women and top Americans Ryan Hall and Magdalena Lewy-Boulet will be standing in the way of potential repeat performances by the defending champs.

For the first time, the reigning Chicago (Sammy Wanjiru), Boston (Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot) and London Marathon (Tsegaye Kebede) champions will compete head to head in one of the most competitive ields ever assembled in Chicago Marathon history.
The 2010 Chicago Marathon will be pivotal in deciding the winner of the 2009-2010 World Marathon Majors series. Sammy Wanjiru and Tsegaye Kebede are tied atop the current series standings with 50 points apiece. A victory by one or the other in Chicago would likely determine the champion of the series, which wraps up with the ING New York City Marathon in November.
Sammy Wanjiru, 23, returns to Chicago with an impressive array of victories: he won the 2008 Olympic Marathon in Beijing, he was crowned the 2008-2009 World Marathon Majors winner, he set a course record and personal best (2:05:10) in London en route to his 2009 victory, and he set a course record in Chicago last fall when he ran the fastest marathon ever on North American soil (2:05:41).
Top American runner Ryan Hall will make his Chicago Marathon debut. Hall, who set his 2:06:17 personal best at 2008 London, is aiming to break Khalid Khannouchi’s American Record of 2:05:38. Hall was the first non-African runner to break the one-hour barrier in the half-marathon (59:43). In conjunction with his athletic pursuits, Hall and his wife Sara will lead a team of 100 runners to raise funds for the non-profit organization they recently founded—The Hall Steps Foundation. The Foundation’s mission is to use running as a vehicle for taking small steps toward ending global poverty.
Tsegaye Kebede, 23, boasts a personal best of 2:05:18. Kebede ended Kenya’s eight-year winning streak when he won the 2010 Virgin London Marathon. Kebede, who earned a bronze medal in the marathon in the 2008 Olympics, is the winner of the 2008 Paris Marathon and the two-time winner of the Fukuoka Marathon (2008 and 2009). The sum of Kebede’s three 2009 marathon times, 6:19:02, is the best in history for a single year, and the average of his top five marathon times, 2:05:45, is second only to current world record holder Haile Gebrselassie. This is Kebede’s first appearance in the Chicago Marathon and his first competition in the U.S.
Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot, 22, comes to Chicago with one of the most striking course record performances in history: his 2010 Boston Marathon course record, 2:05:52 (breaking the previous record by 82 seconds). With that performance, he became the fourth youngest male winner at Boston and his time became the fourth fastest ever run on American soil.
Vincent Kipruto, 23, lowered his personal best to 2:05:13 in Rotterdam earlier this year. In the 2009 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, he stuck with eventual winner Sammy Wanjiru for most of the race and posted an impressive finish time for third place, 2:06:08. Kipruto is looking for his irst World Marathon Major victory.