Jordan Hasay was poised to lead one of the strongest female American fields ever at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, but on Monday, organizers announced an injury had sidelined her from returning to the finish line where she made history less than one year ago.
Hasay will no longer compete in the 2018 race. Mexico's Madai Perez and Kenya's Paul Lonyangata will also not be competing, organizers revealed.
With their exit comes the additions of two-time Chicago champion Florence Kiplagat, of Kenya, and 2015's top American finisher Luke Puskedra.
In 2017, Hasay became the fastest American woman to run the Chicago Marathon. She raced to a 2:20:57 finish in the 40th anniversary race.
This year, she was hoping to accomplish another historic feat -- a win.
“My goal is to target a fast time and contend for the win," Hasay said in a statement earlier this year. "As always, I know the race organizers will set up a fantastic event and the people of Chicago will make it a very fun day.”
Organizers had said this year's strong field of American runners could be a game-changer in the women's field.
The last time three American women finished in the top five in Chicago was 1994, and the last time U.S. women claimed the top two spots was 1992.
=The remaining runners in the American field include fifth-ranked Amy Cragg, ninth-ranked Laura Thweatt and Olympic gold medalist Gwen Jorgensen.
“We are thrilled with this year’s overall elite field,” Bank of America Chicago Marathon Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski said in an earlier statement. “There is an incredible amount of talent and momentum on the American women’s side, and Rupp is leading a resurgence on the men’s side. These athletes are going to put on quite a show in October, and they are going to keep alive Chicago’s legacy of supporting and showcasing top U.S. athletes.”
The women's American field also includes:
Gwen Jorgensen’s potential in the marathon remains unknown. She debuted at the New York City Marathon just nine weeks after she won gold in Rio in the triathlon. Given her lack of marathon-specific training, she impressed with a 14th-place finish and 2:41:01 time. Jorgensen grew into a legend as a triathlete: in addition to her gold medal (the only Olympic gold in the triathlon in U.S. history), she also won two world titles and an unprecedented 17 ITU World Triathlon Series races. She took most of 2017 off to welcome her first child, and since making the leap into a full-time professional running career. Jorgensen trains with Cragg and Shalane Flanagan as part of Nike’s Bowerman Track Club.
Sarah Crouch made a name for herself at the 2014 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. She cut almost 12 minutes off of her previous PR and placed seventh in a personal best of 2:32:44. Since then, she has returned to Chicago three times. She enjoyed another strong performance in 2015, finishing 12th in 2:32:51; she finished ninth in 2016 in 2:33:48; and she finished 13th last fall in 2:38:27. Crouch started 2018 with a seventh-place finish at the Houston Marathon and then she experienced a significant stride forward in June at the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon. She finished second in a personal best of 1:11:31. It was her first PR over any distance in four years. She later wrote on Instagram: “I took the first mile out in 5:17 and never looked back, pushing as hard as I could for as long as I could…at the press conference, I really put myself out there, looking into the cameras and reporters and saying, ‘I’m stupid fit. If I don’t PR tomorrow, it will be because I didn’t step up.’”
Taylor Ward ran strong at the 2017 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, finishing ninth in a personal best of 2:35:27. She is a two-time Olympic Trials qualifier in the marathon (2016, 2020), and she is the 2016 Philadelphia Marathon champion. One of Ward’s biggest confidence boosters happened this winter when she subtracted 40 seconds from her half marathon PR to win the Carlsbad Half marathon in 1:13:50.
Kristen Heckert, with a personal best of 2:38:54, is Chicago’s very own elite athlete, and she has been loyal to her hometown race. She ran her debut at the 2011 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, finishing in 2:51:04. She has returned every year since (with the exception of 2015) to better her PR. In 2016, she finished 27th at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials and followed that performance with a second-place showing at the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K. Now running for the Second City Track Club, she will compete in her seventh Chicago Marathon. Outside of running, she teaches math and coaches cross country at Plainfield South High School.
See the full elite American lineup here.
The 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon steps off Oct. 7.