2014 Elite Female Runners: Rita Jeptoo | NBC Chicago
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2014 Elite Female Runners: Rita Jeptoo

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    CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 13: Rita Jeptoo of Kenya wins the women's race at the 2013 Bank of America Chicago Marathon in 2:19:57 on October 13, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

    Defending champion Rita Jeptoo returns to try and defend her Chicago Marathon crown this year.

    The Kenyan's 2014 campaign has already been on fire, winning her third Boston Marathon early in the year and becoming the first woman to defend that title since Catherine Ndereba in 2005.

    And she's running exceptionally fast. Her 2:18:57 winning time in Boston was a personal best and smashed the course record by almost 2 minutes.

    Jeptoo ran her first career sub 2:20 in last year's Chicago race, the fifth fastest time in Chicago Marathon history, and with another big effort on Oct. 12, she could became the third woman in history to run three career sub 2:20s.

    "Rita is in the prime of her career," race director Carey Pinkowski said. "If you look at the running in Boston and the training she's done, she has some very aggressive goals. She's in great shape and is familiar with Chicago, she likes it, she's had success here and that's the formula for records."

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