Olympic Gold Medalist Kenenisa Bekele will be running in the 2014 Bank of America Chicago Marathon for the first time.
Bekele, a 32-year-old 18-time world championship medalist from Ethiopia, has only raced in the U.S. a total of five times in his career.
From 2003 to 2012, Bekele did not lose a 10,000-meter that he finished. In 2002, he became the first man in history to win both the 12-kilometer long course and 4-kilometer short course at the International Association of Athletics Federation's World Cross Country Championships.
At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, he doubled in the 5,000-meter and 10,000-meter races, taking home gold in both competitions. In Eugene, Ore. he ran the fastest time ever recorded in the U.S., finishing in 26 minutes and 25.97 seconds.
Executive race course director Carey Pinkowski calls Bekele "one of the best, most versatile and exciting athletes competing on the global stage today."
Bekele says he's aware Chicago has a fast course and has stated his goal is to break the course record of 2:03:45.
"He's in great shape, had some great training and he's arguably the greatest distance runner of all time," Pinkowski says. "He has performed at the highest level in the most competitive environments. The only thing that's missing is the marathon."