Ritzenhein, Tegenkamp Lead U.S. Charge at Chicago

Dathan Ritzenhein, center, is the third-fastest American marathoner of all-time. Photo: PhotoRun.net

A strong international field will line up in The Windy City on October 13. 

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

Today, Bank of America Chicago Marathon officials released the elite athlete fields for the race’s 36th edition, to be held on Sunday, October 13. The professional contingent features four sub-2:05 marathoners, including past champion Moses Mosop, and reigning women’s winner Atsede Baysa. The race will be the sixth stop of the World Marathon Majors series this year.

Previously announced was a strong American contingent, led by Olympians Dathan Ritzenhein –the top American at last year’s race, when he clocked 2:07:47 to become the third fastest American at the distance– and debutant Matt Tegenkamp. On Labor Day, the 31-year-old Tegenkamp won the USA 20K national championship in 1:00:10, subsequently earning USA Track & Field’s Athlete of the Week honors.

“I feel really good,” Tegenkamp told Race Results Weekly, adding that he was “really looking forward to the process” of completing his marathon training.

Also among the leading men announced Thursday were Mosop, London Marathon course record holder Emmanuel Mutai, 2013 Tokyo Marathon winner Dennis Kimetto, and 2012 Standard Charter Dubai Marathon victor Ayele Abshero. The Kenyan trio of Mosop, Mutai, and Kimetto have all raced to times under 2:04:40, with Mosop’s best of 2:03:06 coming at the 2011 Boston Marathon where he finished second. En route to winning the 2011 Chicago Marathon on Columbus Drive, Mosop set a then course record of 2:05:37.

“Winning the 2011 Bank of America Chicago Marathon was one of the proudest moments of my career and I look forward to returning to a course and a city that I enjoyed so much,” said Mosop in a statement provided by officials. “I lost my course record last year to [Tsegaye] Kebede and I was disappointed that I was not there to defend it. I know the competition will be great once again this year and I’m excited to return to Chicago.”

Reigning champion Kebede will not be defending his title, leaving Abshero to try and become just the second Ethiopian men’s champion in race history. In his debut marathon, Abshero became the youngest athlete to crack the sub-2:05 barrier, timing 2:04:23 at 21-years-old.

Among other international athletes in the Chicago Marathon field are Eritrea’s Zersenay Tadese, Ethiopia’s Tilahun Regassa and Atsedu Tsegaye, as well as Kenya’s Sammy Kitwara. From Japan will be Yoshinori Oda.

The women’s contest at last year’s Chicago Marathon came down to one second, as Ethiopia’s Atsede Baysa bettered Rita Jeptoo, 2:22:03 to 2:22:04. Both will return to the streets of the Windy City next month.

“After finishing second at the 2010 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, it was my goal to come back and win. Last year, I was thrilled to accomplish that dream,” said Baysa. “Rita pushed me to my limit, all the way to the last step, and I’m sure it will be the same again this year. I am training very hard to be at my best in Chicago.”

Baysa’s victory in Chicago broke a five-year streak of Russian champions. Since the win last October, Baysa finished fourth at April’s Virgin London Marathon while Jeptoo won the Boston Marathon.

In addition to Baysa and Jeptoo, 2013 Rotterdam Marathon winner Jemima Jelagat, Russia’s Maria Konovalova, and Japan’s Yukiko Akaba will toe the starting line in Grant Park. Joining them are Ethiopians Abebech Afework and Ehitu Kiros Reda, Belarus national record-holder Aliaksandra Duliba, and China’s Yue Chao and Zhang Jingxia.

“It will be hard to top last year when the top three men all broke the previous course record and the women’s race was decided by a single second, but this is the field that can do it,” said Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski in a statement. “These athletes are among the most exciting in the sport, not only with their fast times, but with their proven ability to win on the biggest stages in the world. We have two returning champions in Moses from 2011 and Atsede with her memorable victory last year. They are the ones to beat, but they’ll have their work cut out for them against deep competition.”

In 2012, a race record 37,475 athletes completed the Chicago Marathon, making it the largest marathon in the world last year (the ING New York City Marathon was cancelled due to Superstorm Sandy).

Yesterday, the race organizers also announced that an economic impact report from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Regional Economics Applications Laboratory found the race contributed $243.46 million in total business activity to the Chicago economy.

For a complete list of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon elite athlete field, visit: http://www.chicagomarathon.com/press-center/2013-elite-athlete-field/

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