Packed field and flat course promises fast times in Chicago

Moses MosopOfficially, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon is USA’s fastest legal Marathon course, home of the US all-comers’ records for both men (Tsegaye Kebede’s 2:04:38) and women (Paula Radcliffe’s 2:17:18).

Speed is always a key element of this IAAF Gold Label Road Race, and executive race director Carey Pinkowski expects fast running through the streets of Chicago on Sunday (13).

“The World record in Berlin, I think, has set the atmosphere for Sunday,” said Pinkowski. “I think the culture is that we’re going to go fast.”

Pinkowski has loaded his field with some of the sport’s top Africans, including five men who have run sub-2:06 and seven women who have run under 2:24. With the help of 10 pacemakers, he expects the race to be both fast and closely-contested.

“I think the course record is going to go,” Pinkowski said confidently.

Leading the men’s entry list is Kenya’s Moses Mosop, who won here in 2011 despite being at only “85% fitness” due to an achilles injury he had suffered the summer before. His 2:03:06 personal best from Boston in the same year is the fastest in the field, and he ran 2:05:37 when he won here, a time which broke the late Sammy Wanjiru’s course record. Mosop said at the time he could definitely have run faster.

“When I was 100% I run 2:02,” he said matter-of-factly. “One hundred per cent.”

His biggest challengers are compatriots Dennis Kimetto, the 2013 Tokyo Marathon champion who recorded the fastest ever debut with 2:04:16 in Berlin last year, and Emmanuel Mutai (2:04:40), the 2009 World silver medallist who set his 2:04:40 PB when winning the 2011 London Marathon. Pinkowski likes that mix of athletes.

“If you look at Emmanuel Mutai, these guys are at different points in their career,” said Pinkowski. “I think they’re going to complement each other. I think we’re going to have a great run.”

Others hoping to cross the finish line in Grant Park in the top three include Ethiopia’s Ayele Abshero, who set a PB of 2:04:23 on his debut in Dubai last year, and Tariku Jufar, who won in Houston last year with a PB of 2:06:51. Read more

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