A new contender is giving Chicago Marathon runners a run for their money.
Olympic Gold Medalist Kenenisa Bekele is running in the 2014 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. five times.
"I am looking forward to coming back to America, and to running fast," Bekele said. "I have heard great things about the fans in Chicago and the course. After my win in Paris, I understand the marathon distance a lot better and I will bring that experience to Chicago. I know Chicago has a very fast course, and therefore, my goal is to break the course record of 2:03:45. After that everything is possible."
From 2003 to 2012, Bekele has not lost 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.
"Kenenisa Bekele is one of the best, most versatile and exciting athletes competing on the global stage today," said Carey Pinkowski, Bank of America Chicago Marathon executive race course director."We expect Bekele to put on a speed show, and it's not out of the question to think that Bekele could bring the World Record back home to Chicago."