Men's Race Writeups | Women's Race Writeups | Complete Results
2011 Bank of America Chicago Marathon - Pre-Race Interviews
by Sharon Ekstrom
MarathonGuide.com was able to catch up with some of the top athletes two days before the 2011 Chicago Marathon. Often before a major race, the athletes are a bit private and evasive of tough questions, but below is a little of the intelligence and information we gathered.
A few quotes and comments from Ryan Hall, Moses Mosop, Marilson Gomes dos Santos, Liiliya Shobukhova, Christelle Daunay
Q: How are you feeling going into Sunday's race and what might we expect?
RH: Regardless if it's hot or if I get a PR...good things are going to come from this race. I have done the training, but you don't really know until you get out there. I will find out at mile 20. It could be a 2:05 finish.
Q: Will the weather be a factor in your race plans on Sunday?
RH: The weather always has an effect on us, but I think it won't be as bad for us as the runners who will be out there for four or five hours. It's hard to say, we may even get a perfect morning. In fact, I refuse to acknowledge the weather. It was really hot training for Beijing (2008 Olympic Games), but I never let that factor in.
Q: Has training been different since you've changed your coaching?
RH: Yes, being able to have that flexibility deciding my workouts has been huge.
Q: With a win on Sunday, you could be the first American to win the Chicago Marathon since Greg Meyer won in 1982 (2:10:59), how might that feel?
RH: It would be similar to winning the Olympics.
(Note: Moments after this question, Greg Meyer came up to Ryan and said: "It's about time the torch was passed.")
In typical Kenyan pre-race fashion, Mosop was very hesitant to reveal much about his race. He mentioned a nagging injury, but we could not tell whether it was serious or not.
Q: How are you feeling after setting a world record in the 30,000m on the track in Eugene in June?
MM: After Eugene, I have not been in good shape. I have a small problem in my leg (left achilles tendon). I am not promising a world record here at Chicago...
Marilson Gomes dos Santos
Q: You are coming off a strong season of personal bests, what do you have in mind for Sunday?
MGDS: At the end of the day it will depend on the weather. But ideally I'd like, in order: a PR first, a South American record second and winning third.
Q: How has training been since the 2011 London Marathon, and any plans for a personal best on Sunday?
LS: I'm in my best shape and have been doing new workouts. Although I am definitely looking for a new personal best (sub 2:20), I am hoping that my time will help for the selection for the 2012 London Olympics.
Q: How did you first transition from the track to the marathon distance?
LS: I was invited to run a 5000m track meet, but the invite fell apart and then I got invited to run the 2008 Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon which I ran instead - and won (70:21). After that, I got an invitation to debut at the London Marathon. And that was how I got into the marathon distance.
Q: After a strong season with PBs on the road and track, are you ready for your first marathon since the 2010 NYC Marathon?
CD: I worked on my speed on the track and didn't run a marathon this Spring. And while I wasn't happy with my 6th place finish in the 10000m at the 2011 World Championships, the track work will help me give everything I can to qualify for the Olympics. That is my first objective.
But I am also looking for a personal best in Chicago depending on the weather at the end of the race. It could be hard on my body in the final miles; but it was hot as well, when I won the Paris Marathon for the first time. But it is still a marathon and something I have to take into consideration on race day.
Q: How do you feel about the competition?
CD: The competition is very strong with very strong times on the track; but in the marathon the gap is a lot narrower. So, I think I can be very competitive with them.
Thoughts of Sammy Wanjiru
During a talk to the press, Race Director Carey Pinkowski remembered Sammy Wanjiru as a person who was great for the sport of distance running: "Sammy Wanjiru was a great guy. Special to the World Marathon Majors. A giving athlete. A friendly athlete. He did everything we asked him to do." Visibly emotional at the as a video retrospective of Sammy Wanjiru played, he could not watch the entire tribute and left the stage. Ryan Hall added that he too would miss the two-time Chicago winner and 2008 Beijing Olympic marathon champion.