FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Shawn M. Platt
KHALID KHANNOUCHI RETURNS TO CHICAGO FOR FOUR YEARS
Long-term Agreement Brings Chicago's Most Famous Marathoner Back Home
CHICAGO - (May 19, 2004) - The LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon will once
again be home to the world's most recognizable marathoner, Khalid
Khannouchi. The LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon and Khannouchi have reached
an agreement that will bring him to the streets of Chicago for the next
The four-year deal calls for Khannouchi to participate exclusively in
Chicago among all fall marathons and will give him the opportunity to
compete for the world record on a course he has dominated over the years.
With four first-place finishes in Chicago, including a World Record in 1999
and an American Record in 2002, Khannouchi has become synonymous with the
LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon. His dominance and epic performances on the
26.2 mile route is one of the great sports stories in Chicago.
Khannouchi withdrew from last year's Chicago marathon due to injury. After
months of treatment and rest, Khannouchi just finished his first phase of
altitude training and feels better than he has in years - he is focused
squarely on a top performance in Chicago.
"I have been in intense training for the past 8 weeks and now feel that I
can compete at the level I expect of myself for a full marathon," stated
Khannouchi. "Chicago is where I started my marathon career and I couldn't
think of any other place where I'd like to make my comeback. I have a goal
in mind and I believe Chicago is just the place I need to be to achieve
Khannouchi will have tough competition the next few years as last year's
defending champion, Evans Rutto of Kenya, announced earlier this year that
he will run Chicago the next two years. Khannouchi tends to perform at his
best when faced with challenges and tough competition. The 2002 London
Marathon proves just that as he overcame one of the strongest marathon
fields ever assembled to lower his own World Record with a 2:05:38 victory.
The dramatic race included Khannouchi passing two of the greatest distance
runners ever - Paul Tergat and Haile Gebreselassie - in the final two
miles. Khannouchi's London victory was also redemption of sorts. He
finished third in the 2000 London Marathon in 2:08:36, missed the 2000 U.S.
Olympic Marathon Trials with injuries and dropped out of the 2001 World
Championships marathon due to severe foot blisters.
Last year was much the same for Khannouchi as his injuries kept him from
competing in Chicago and the U.S. Olympic Trials, but if history repeats
itself, Khannouchi could be at his best ever in 2004.
"Khalid Khannouchi is one of the most determined athletes I have ever come
across," added Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski. "He thrives in
Chicago and he loves this city. His injuries are behind him and his
preparation for this year's race is going extremely well."
When asked when a world record might return to Chicago, Pinkowski noted it
has been over a year since Paula Radcliffe shocked the world with her then
2:17:18 World Record and he responded frankly: "I fully expect that the new
LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon route is designed to host a world record
attempt on October 10 this year."
The 2004 LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon takes place Sunday, October 10
starting and finishing in Chicago's Grant Park. The race will be broadcast
live on CBS 2 CHICAGO and ESPN 1000. Last year's race attracted the maximum
Runners may register online at chicagomarathon.com until September 3, 2004,
or when the participation capacity of 40,000 has been reached (whichever
comes first). Race weekend entries will not be accepted. Printable entry
forms for mail-in registration are available online at chicagomarathon.com.
The entrance fee for the Marathon is $80 for U.S. runners and $90 for
international runners; the registration fee for the American Airlines
International Fun Run 5K, held during race weekend, is $15 for both U.S.
and international participants. Senior citizens, ages 60 and older, receive
a $5 discount. In addition, a $5 discount will be offered to participants
who register using their MasterCard credit card or pre-paid card.
# # #