Mosop, Baysa, Jeptoo Headline Fast Chicago Field

In 2011, Moses Mosop won the Chicago Marathon and was second in Boston. Photo: www.photorun.net

Four of the runners in the men’s field have run some of the fastest marathons in history.

Some of the fastest marathoners in the world are slated to compete in Sunday’s Chicago Marathon.

Four of the runners in the men’s field — Kenyans Moses Mosop, Dennis Kimetto and Emmanuel Mutai, and Ethiopian Ayele Abshero — have run the top-11 fastest marathons in history. Mosop leads that crew with the second best performance of all time, a 2:03:06 he ran at the 2011 Boston Marathon. Mosop won the 2011 edition of the Chicago Marathon.

“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,” Mosop said in a press release. “I lost my course record last year to 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.”

Kimetto took second in his marathon debut at the 2012 BMW Marathon, and earlier this year he won the Tokyo Marathon. Abshero claimed victory in the Dubai Marathon last year in 2:04:23, becoming the fastest 21-year-old and the youngest athlete to break 2:05.

Mutai owns the Virgin London Marathon course record stemming from his 2011 victory in 2:04:40. He also has several other top-five results in marathons during his career.

The top Americans in the field are Dathan Ritzenhein, who owns the third-best U.S. marathon time (2:07:47), and two-time Olympian Matt Tegenkamp, who is making his debut at the 26.2-mile distance.

RELATED: Ritzenhein, Tegenkamp Lead U.S. Contingent In Chicago

On the women’s side, Ethiopia’s Atsede Baysa and Kenya’s Rita Jeptoo — who staged an epic sprint to the finish in last year’s Chicago race before Baysa won, 2:22:03 to 2:22:04 — will return to square off once again.

Baysa was second in 2010 and won the Paris Marathon in 2009 and 2010.

“After finishing second at the 2010 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, it was my goal to come back and win,” Baysa said. “Last year, I was thrilled to accomplish that dream. 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.”

Jeptoo has won six marathons during her career, including Boston twice (2006, 2013). Winning two races in one year is not out of the question for the 32-year-old: She also won Paris in 2006.

Stephanie Pezzullo (Charlotte, N.C.) leads the American charge in Chicago after her 10th-place finish last year (2:32:42). Clara Santucci (Morgantown, W.V.), who clocked a 2:29:54 in marathon debut in 2011 (Boston), will also race this weekend.

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