5 Things To Know About The 2017 Chicago Marathon

Photo: Courtesy of Chicago Marathon

The 40th running of the Chicago Marathon takes place this Sunday, Oct. 8. Want to learn more about this World Marathon Major? We have all the details so you’re ready to cheer on the race.

Could This Be A Year That An American Wins?

There is a strong chance that Americans Jordan Hasay and Galen Rupp will have a podium finish at this year’s race. Earlier this year, they both did just that at Boston, with Hasay finishing 3rd in the women’s race and Rupp finishing 2nd in the men’s race. But can either of them win outright? There is always a possibility.

Hasay may have a slightly better shot. With the fastest debut marathon by an American woman, she enters the race with the fifth fastest time among elites. Ahead of her is Ethiopioan Tirunesh Dibaba, Kenyans Florence Kiplagat and Valentine Kipketer, and Madai Perez of Mexico. Dibaba hopes to continue her strong 2017 season after running the third fastest women’s marathon time ever at the London Marathon in April. Kiplagat is the defending women’s champion in Chicago, but finished a disappointing 9th at London. Kipketer was third at last year’s race. At 37 and over 10 years removed for her PR, Perez is likely not to be among the top group.

Rupp, the Olympic Bronze medalist in the marathon, easily won a strong tune up half marathon at Rock ‘n’ Roll Philly. However, he is entering a field where seven other men have run faster times, including six under 2:07. These include Kenyans Dennis Kimmetto, Stanley Biwott, Abel Kirui, and Ezekiel Chebii, as well as Ethipopian Feyisa Lilesa.

Kimetto is the current world record holder, but has either DNF-ed or run much slower in recent races. Biwott’s last race was London 2016 and it was a great one. He set his PR of 2:03:51. However, he dropped out of the New York City Marathon in November 2016 and has not raced a 26.2 since. Kirui is the 2016 Chicago Marathon champion and looking to defend his title. Lilesa is the Rio Olympic silver medalist.

Meanwhile Rupp will also have to contend with a strong American field including NCAA champion and record holder Sam Chelanga, Luke Puskedra and debut marathoners Chris Derrick and Noah Droddy.

Legendary Chicago Champions Are Back To Celebrate The 40th Anniversary

The Chicago Marathon has invited five past champions who helped establish the race as one of the world’s premier marathons. Steve Jones, Khalid Khannouchi, Catherine Ndereba, Paula Radcliffe and Deena Kastor are returning as race ambassadors for this year’s marathon. Jones, Khannouchi, Ndereba and Radcliffe all set world records during their Chicago victories. Kastor is the last American to win Chicago. All five runners will participate in marathon weekend events, including the Abbott Health and Fitness Expo and the Advocate Health Care International Chicago 5K.

A Flat And Fast Course Does Not Mean It’s Easy

Flat and fast are the two words always associated with  the Chicago Marathon. While those are definitely true—there are barely any hills along the entire route—that doesn’t mean it is without challenges. The course winds its way through 29 Chicago neighborhoods. While the first half of the race is filled with spectators, crowds thin out after mile 13. The weather is unpredictable in Chicago during October. This year’s forecast is high 70’s with a chance of rain, making warmth and wind a factor, especially with the lack of shade in the last half. The one hill, nicknamed Mount Roosevelt, is tiny but comes right at the end of the race. Keeping an even pace in the first 13 miles of the race means you’ll be ready to work and run fast, despite the challenges towards the end.

A Midlife Celebration

A 40th birthday is something to celebrate, for both people and for marathons. To honor its 40th anniversary, the Chicago Marathon sent birthday cards and a commemorative patch to participants celebrating their 40th birthday in 2017. NBC Chicago reports nearly 2,000 runners received the gift, including 15 people who will turn 40 on Oct. 8.

The City of Chicago Loves Marathoners

Having over 40,000 marathoners, along with their spectators, come to town is a huge boost to the Chicago economy. According to an independent economic study, the 2016 Chicago Marathon delivered an estimated $282 million in total business impact to the city. Of the over 41,000 runners who picked up their packet for last year’s race, 28 percent were visiting the city for the first time. The independent study was conducted by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Regional Economics Applications Laboratory.

RELATED: Inside the Chicago Marathon Med Tent With Medical Director George Chiampas

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