Matt Tegenkamp To Make Marathon Debut In Chicago

Matt Tegenkamp competes in the 10,000m at last summer's Olympic Games in London. Photo: www.photorun.net

The two-time Olympian ran his first long road race last September — and won. 

(c) 2013 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission. 

Organizers of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon announced today that two-time U.S. Olympian and five-time national champion Matt Tegenkamp will make his marathon debut at their event in October. The race, which was the largest marathon in the world last year with more than 37,000 finishers, will be held on Sunday, October 13.

Tegenkamp, 31, who lives and trains in Portland, Ore., under coach Jerry Schumacher, is best known as a 5,000m runner. He is the fifth-fastest American ever at that distance with a 12:58.56 personal best, and at the 2007 IAAF World Championships in Osaka he finished fourth, missing a medal by just 3/100ths of a second.

In recent years, Tegenkamp has moved up in distance, running his first professional 10,000m in 2011, and his first long road race — the Stratton Faxon New Haven 20K — last September. In New Haven, he earned the U.S. 20K road running title after a spirited battle with Luke Puskedra, and his time of 58:30 was a championships record. Tegenkamp admitted that the 20K distance was, at that point, a struggle for him.

“I got a cramp just before 11 miles, and I felt bad,” he told Race Results Weekly at the time. “I didn’t know what I was doing out there.”

In Chicago, Tegenkamp should benefit not only from the event’s flat, fast course, but from good crowd support. The former NCAA star for the University of Wisconsin grew up in Lee’s Summit, Mo., a suburb of Kansas City, about 500 miles southwest of Chicago.

“I am very excited that all the stars aligned this year to make the Bank of America Chicago Marathon my debut at the distance,” said Tegenkamp through a statement provided by race organizers. “There are a lot of great fall marathon options, but for my first I wanted to stay true to my Midwest roots: born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, college at University of Wisconsin, married in Madison, and now the Chicago Marathon. I know that Chicago will provide a great course, electric fans, and amazing competition, which will provide the perfect stage for me to take on one of the toughest events in sports.”

Tegenkamp ran his longest-ever road race last month in Grand Rapids, Mich., where he finished fourth overall (third American) at the Fifth Third River Bank Run 25K, which hosted the U.S. championships at the distance. His time of 1:14:43 was equivalent to about a 2:11 marathon, although his 10,000m personal best of 27:28.22 points to marathon potential closer to 2:08. Most recently, he finished seventh in the 10,000m at the U.S. Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Des Moines in 29:21.93.  He had originally planned to skip the championships, but used the race to test his fitness and launch his marathon training.

“I want to be as prepared as a I possibly can,” Tegenkamp told RunnerSpace.com after his race in Des Moines, referring to his upcoming marathon training.

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