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Top Female Runners in the Chicago Marathon

Look out for these top runners as they cross the finish line on Oct. 9

By Alise Blunk
|  Thursday, Oct 13, 2011  |  Updated 10:43 AM CDT
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PHOTOS: 2010 Chicago Marathon

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Liliya Shobukhova of the Russian Federation wins the women's race in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon with a time of 2:20:26 on October 10, 2010 in Chicago.

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The top women runners in the Chicago Marathon come from all across the world. When marathon participants cross the finish line Oct. 9, look out for these major women world runners.

Liliya Shobukhova, 33, is a Russian runner who made the Olympic 5,000-meter finals in both Athens and Beijing. In 2009, she began running marathons and made her debut at the London Marathon finishing third. She won the Chicago marathon in 2009 and in 2010. Shobukhova's time for the 2010 marathon was 2:20:25.

Askale Tafa ran her first marathon at the age of 20. Tafa is from Ethiopia and is 27 years old. She has run major world marathons in London, Boston, Osaka and Boston. In 2008, she finished the Berlin Marathon in 2:21:31, which makes her the second fastest Ethiopian marathoner of all time. She finished 12th in last year's Chicago Marathon.

Inga Abitova is a 29-year-old runner from Russia. She reached the finals at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics for the 10,000 meter and came in 6th place. Abitova has run world marathons in New York City and London. In 2010 she finished second in the London Marathon with a time of 2:22:19.

Benita Willis, 32, is an Australian long-distance runner. She was named the 2004 Cross Country Champion, Australia's first ever medalist. Willis attended the 2004 Summer Olympic Games and ran in the 10,000 meter. At the 2006 Chicago Marathon she finished with a time of 2:22:36, which was a new Australian record.

Wei Yanan is a 30-year-old Chinese marathon runner who won the Beijing Marathon at the age of 18. Yanan has won marathons in Seoul, Shanghai and Dalian. This July she won the silver medal in the marathon at the 2011 Military World Games.

Maria Konovalova, 37, is a Russian runner. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, she placed fifth in the 10,000-meter finals. Konovalova made her marathon debut at the 2010 London Marathon where she placed sixteenth overall. She placed third in last year's Chicago Marathon with a finish time of 2:23:50, her personal best. 

Christelle Daunay is a 37-year-old French long-distance runner. She ran on France's team at the 2008 Summer Olympics. She has participated in international marathons in Paris and New York, with top three finishes in both. In the 2010 Paris marathon Daunay finished second and ran her personal best with a time of 2:24:22.

Astede Besuye is a 24-year-old Ethiopian long-distance runner. She ran in the IAAF World Road Running Championships in 2007 and finished with a time of 1:08:29, a record for a teen athlete. Besuye won the Daegu Marathon in January of this year with a race record time of 2:25:52.

Belainesh Gebre is an Ethiopian runner. She is considered an up-and-comer and at 22 years old won the 2010 Honolulu Marathon with a finishing time of 2:32:13. In March of this year, Gebre ran at the Prague Half-Marathon and finished with a time of 1:09:17.

Kayoko Fukushi, 29, is a Japanese long-distance runner. She ran for China in both the 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympics. She won her first major championship in 2006 when she won the gold medal at the Asian Games for the 10,000 meter. Her personal best marathon time is 2:40:52.

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