FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Kebede and Kidane Among Talented Group of International Athletes Set to
Compete for 2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Crown
Smyth, Grabow and Metivier Baille Highlight Promising U.S. Contingent
CHICAGO - The Bank of America Chicago Marathon today announced its full
elite athlete field for the event's 35th running on October 7. Ethiopia's
Tsegaye Kebede tops a stacked roster of athletes hungry for a breakthrough
performance on Chicago's international stage, while the women's field
welcomes, among others, Werknesh Kidane of Ethiopia, coming off a
fourth-place finish in the 10,000-meter race at the London Olympics. These
athletes join previously announced 2012 Boston Marathon champion and
Chicago runner-up Wesley Korir of Kenya, three-time U.S. Olympian Dathan
Ritzenhein, and three-time defending champion Liliya Shobukhova of Russia.
"The men's field is the deepest we've ever had in Chicago, and I think it
will take a career performance to win on October 7," said Carey Pinkowski,
executive race director of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. "In the
women's field, with the addition of Werknesh Kidane, you are looking at
some of the most talented athletes on the planet, each of whom will be
trying to figure out a way to beat Liliya Shobukhova on what has become her
home course. These are going to be magnificent races to help celebrate the
Chicago Marathon's 35th anniversary."
Kebede returns to Chicago after a memorable duel against the late Sammy
Wanjiru at the 2010 race. During the Olympic champion's brief but
spectacular period of dominance in the sport, Kebede, the 2008 Olympic
bronze medalist, was Wanjiru's most famous opponent, with the 2010 Chicago
Marathon being the pinnacle of their rivalry. He'll be joined by countrymen
Feyisa Lilesa, the 2011 World Championship bronze medalist; 2:05 performers
Dadi Yami and Shami Dawit; 2012 Paris Marathon runner-up Raji Assefa; and
Tilahun Regassa in his highly anticipated debut.
Kenya's Levy Matebo is the fastest entrant in the field, with a 2:05:16
performance at the 2011 Frankfurt Marathon. He'll challenge fellow Kenyan
Wesley Korir, who came from behind to steal victory away from him at the
2012 Boston Marathon. The Kenyan contingent also includes 2012 Tokyo
Marathon champion Michael Kipyego, 2011 Chicago Marathon runner-up Bernard
Kipyego, 2011 Amsterdam Marathon runner-up Laban Korir, 2012 Lake Biwa
Marathon champion Samuel Ndungu, and Sammy Kitwara, the fifth-fastest half
marathon performer of all time.
A strong group of Japanese men is led by Takashi Horiguchi, who cracked the
top 10 in Chicago last fall and ran a personal best of 2:09:16 at the Lake
Biwa Marathon in February.
Kidane owns history's eighth-fastest 10,000-meter performance, and, like
former track stars Shobukhova and Ejegayehu Dibaba, she'll look to
Chicago's flat and fast course to capitalize on her superior track speed.
She's joined by fellow Ethiopians Atsede Baysa, the 2010 Chicago Marathon
runner-up and two-time Paris Marathon champion, and Belainesh Gebre, the
fourth-place Chicago finisher last year.
In addition to 2:19 performer Lucy Kabuu, the Kenyan women will be
represented by former Boston Marathon champion Rita Jeptoo and Caroline
Shobukhova will be joined by Russian teammate Maria Konovalova, the
third-place finisher from the 2010 Chicago Marathon.
Smyth, Grabow and Metivier Baille highlight U.S. contingent
Along with Ritzenhein, the top U.S. entrants include Notre Dame University
All-American and 2010 U.S. Half Marathon runner-up Patrick Smyth;
California's Jimmy Grabow, who ran 2:12:35 in his debut at the U.S. Olympic
Trials Marathon in January; 2:13 athletes Jeffrey Eggleston of Arizona and
Patrick Rizzo, a Chicago native; and Oregon's Craig Leon.
Recent U.S. 20K champion and 11-time NCAA All-American Renee Metivier
Baille of Oregon headlines the U.S. women in her marathon debut. She's
joined by fellow debutant Stephanie Pezzullo, and U.S. Olympic Trials
Marathon qualifiers Deanna Ardrey and Addie Bracy.
To view the complete 2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon elite athlete
roster, go to www.chicagomarathon.com/2012eliteathletes.
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,