Last year's Bank of America Chicago Marathon runner-up will return this October for his fifth consecutive Windy City marathon, organizers announced Wednesday.
Wesley Korir, a native of Kenya who recently won the Boston Marathon, is the first elite athlete announced for the 35th annual Chicago Marathon, stepping off Oct. 7.
“The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is where I started my professional career and I am honored to return to this year’s race, especially after winning the Boston Marathon,” said Korir in a statement. “I come to the Bank of America Chicago Marathon this year full of confidence that no matter who is in the field, they will have to beat me to win it.”
Korir ran his personal best, 2:06:15, at last year's marathon. It was the peak of a storied Chicago Marathon career.
Back in 2008, he started five minutes behind elite athletes but managed to record the fourth-fastest time. The following year he placed sixth overall, and in 2010, he rose to fourth place overall before coming in second in 2011.
Korir said the city has long provided him with a huge fan base and local support.
"I love the city of Chicago," he said. "It’s close to Louisville and I always have a large group of friends who drive up to cheer for me, which makes me feel at home along with the support from the local fans and volunteers."
Organizers say they're ecstatic to have him back.
“Wesley has proven that he’s one of the best marathon runners in the world, but I am far more impressed by his humble nature and perseverance," said Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski in a statement. "He literally started his marathon career with the masses and now he’s at the pinnacle of the sport. He’s a true success story.”