The Bank of America Chicago Marathon today announced that two of the fastest female marathon runners in the world will compete in the October 7 race, as sub-2:20 performers Lucy Kabuu and Florence Kiplagat, both of Kenya, will match strides on Chicago’s flat and fast course. Kabuu currently has the No. 3-ranked performance of the year and No. 14 all-time after her 2:19:34 at the 2012 Dubai Marathon, while Kiplagat is ranked No. 18 all-time after winning the 2011 BMW Berlin Marathon in 2:19:44. Incredibly, these performances were both run in the athletes’ debuts at the marathon distance, ranking Kabuu and Kiplagat second and third all-time in that category, respectively.
“Lucy and Florence are two of the most exciting athletes in the sport,” said Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski. “The performances in their first marathons combined with what they have accomplished on the track and in cross country, promise a very bright future ahead. The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is a course that will suit them well, and I think they’ll push each other to new heights.”
Kabuu is a two-time Olympian with top 10 finishes in the 10,000 meters at the 2004 and 2008 Games. After a break from competition in 2009 and 2010 to recover from injury and start a family, she turned her attention to the roads and found immediate success. She has a personal best of 1:07:04 in the half marathon, and she followed her performance in Dubai with a fifth-place showing at the 2012 Virgin London Marathon, narrowly missing out on making her third Olympic team.
Kiplagat is Kenya’s 10,000 meter record holder (30:11.53), and she has won two gold medals on the world stage - the 2009 IAAF World Cross Country title (long course) and the 2010 World Half Marathon title. She made good on her highly anticipated debut marathon in Berlin, besting marathon stalwarts Paula Radcliffe of Great Britain and Irina Mikitenko of Germany. Her bid to make her first Olympic team fell agonizingly short – with the top three finishers making the team, she placed fourth in her country’s marathon trials (2012 London Marathon) and 10,000 meter trials.
It was also announced that Kenya’s Caroline Rotich, the fourth-place finisher from the 2011 Boston Marathon with a personal best of 2:24:26, will compete in her first Bank of America Chicago Marathon.
Incredibly, it has been 10 years since a Kenyan woman broke the finish tape in Chicago - that being Catherine Ndereba in 2001 in a then-world record of 2:18:47. In fact, since Ndereba’s runner-up performance the following year, a Kenyan woman has not finished among Chicago’s top three, and only Joyce Chepchumba (fourth, 2004) has finished among the top five. This trio of Kenyan athletes will look to put an end to the winless streak at the 2012 event.
About the 2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon
Celebrating its 35th year and a member of the World Marathon Majors, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon annually attracts 45,000 participants, including a world-class elite runner and wheelchair field, and an estimated 1.7 million spectators. As a result of its national and international draw, each year, the iconic race assists in raising millions of dollars for a variety of charitable causes while generating $170 million in economic impact to its host city according to a report by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (R.E.A.L.). The 2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon will start and finish in Chicago’s Grant Park beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, October 7. In advance of the race, a two-day Health & Fitness Expo will be held at McCormick Place Convention Center on Friday, October 5, and Saturday, October 6.
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