Officially, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon is USAÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fastest legal Marathon course, home of the US all-comersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ records for both men (Tsegaye KebedeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 2:04:38) and women (Paula RadcliffeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 2:17:18).
Speed is always a key element of thisÃ‚Â IAAF Gold Label Road Race, and executive race director Carey Pinkowski expects fast running through the streets of Chicago on Sunday (13).
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The World record in Berlin, I think, has set the atmosphere for Sunday,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Pinkowski. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think the culture is that weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re going to go fast.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Pinkowski has loaded his field with some of the sportÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think the course record is going to go,Ã¢â‚¬Â Pinkowski said confidently.
Leading the menÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s entry list is KenyaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Moses Mosop, who won here in 2011 despite being at only Ã¢â‚¬Å“85% fitnessÃ¢â‚¬Â 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 WanjiruÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s course record. Mosop said at the time he could definitely have run faster.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“When I was 100% I run 2:02,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said matter-of-factly. Ã¢â‚¬Å“One hundred per cent.Ã¢â‚¬Â
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.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“If you look at Emmanuel Mutai, these guys are at different points in their career,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Pinkowski. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re going to complement each other. I think weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re going to have a great run.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Others hoping to cross the finish line in Grant Park in the top three include EthiopiaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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