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How the Olympics Affects the Chicago Marathon

Unlike marathons in non-Olympics seasons, timing this year gets in the way.

By Lisa Balde
|  Friday, Aug 10, 2012  |  Updated 1:58 PM CDT
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CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 09: Thousands of runners participate in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 9, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

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Chicagoans probably won't see elite runner Ryan Hall in October's marathon lineup.

It's not because the Bank of America Chicago Marathon lacks as a destination for world-class athletes. Names like Lilia Podkopayeva, Moses Mosop and the late Sammy Wanjiru prove the Windy City's 26-mile course goes hand-in-hand with the fastest around.

Unlike marathons in non-Olympics seasons, timing this year gets in the way.

A mere seven weeks separates Sunday's marathon in London and the local Oct. 7 race. That's typically not enough time for an elite runner to recover between events. Chicago Marathon organizers say it's possible but not common. And it probably won't happen this year.

That means Hall likely will sign up for the New York Marathon in November instead of risking it too soon to sprint down State Street in October.

Not to worry, though, Chicago. The Olympics still will be represented.

Three-time Olympian and Michigan native Dathan Ritzenhein is set to race here after representing Team USA in the 10,000-meter event last week in London.

"Coming off a healthy year of great training, I plan to carry the momentum from the Olympic Games and the track season to a great race on Oct. 7," Ritzenhein said in a statement. "I feel stronger than ever and I can't wait test myself on the streets of Chicago.”

Lucy Kabuu, a two-time Olympian, and Florence Kiplagat, Kenya’s 10,000-meter record-holder, also signed up to battle it out in Chicago.

"Lucy and Florence are two of the most exciting athletes in the sport," said Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski. "The Bank of American Chicago Marathon is a course that will suit them well and I think these two athletes will push each other to even greater heights."

Olympians are known for running the Chicago marathon. All three United State representatives have competed here in the past. Even Hall. He finished fourth in 2011.

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