Two-time Olympic medalist Galen Rupp and American marathon debut record holder Jordan Hasay are among the leaders of a deep field of elite American runners taking part in the 40th annual Bank of America Chicago Marathon.
Joining them at the starting line will be 1984 Olympic gold medalist and 1985 Chicago Marathon champion Joan Benoit Samuelson, who will toe the line in an attempt to set an age group world record.
“Galen and Jordan are huge talents who have the ability to capture podium finishes. The last time we had an American male and female place in the top three together was 1996," Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski said in a statement. "And we have a deep field of Americans who can shake things up this year - Luke Puskedra, Diego Estrada, Sam Chelanga, Sarah Crouch, Becky Wade and Alia Gray, to name a few. And Joanie is a legend. To have Joan attempting a record in Chicago allows us the opportunity to celebrate her as an American icon and running legend.”
American Men's Field:
Rupp, a three-time Olympian, made his marathon debut in 2016 by winning the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. He currently holds four American records in the 10,000-meter, the indoor 3,000-meter, the indoor two-mile and the indoor 5,000-meter. At the 2012 London Games, Rupp became the first American since 1964 to land on the podium.
Sam Chelanga, a two-time NCAA champion in the 5,000-meter and the NCAA 10,000-meter record-holder, will make his second attempt at the marathon distance. Chelanga, who became a U.S. citizen in 2015, made his marathon debut at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.
Luke Puskedra and Jeffrey Eggleston have both earned 2:10 marathon performances. Puskedra smashed his personal record during the 2015 Chicago Marathon, becoming the fastest American marathon runner in 2015. He narrowly missed a ticket to the Rio Games in 2016, but started off 2017 with a ninth-place finish in Boston. Eggleston made his marathon debut in 2010 before running his personal best at the 2014 Gold Coast Airport Marathon in Australia.
Aaron Braun, Olympian Diego Estrada and Andrew Bumbalough will also compete in the men's elite field, bringing with them strong personal bests.
Illinois native Chris Derrick and viral runner Noah Droddy will be making their marathon debuts during this year's race. Droddy became an Internet sensation after appearing at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials with long hair, a mustache, tinted sunglasses and a backwards hat.
American Women's Field:
Hasay turned heads at the 2017 Boston Marathon, making the fastest marathon debut ever by an American woman and earning the fourth-fastest Boston Marathon time in history by an American woman.
Samuelson hopes to rewrite the record during this year's race by accomplishing something no woman has done before -- running a sub-three marathon at age 60. Samuelson ran into the record books in Chicago in 1985 when she beat one of the most competitive women's fields in history, defeating world record holder Ingrid Kristiansen and Olympic bronze medalist and defending Chicago Marathon champ Rose Mota.
“Storytelling is important to me and it’s how I motivate myself,” Samuelson said. “My race decisions often reflect my narrative. Once I turned 60 I knew that the Oct. 8 Chicago race would represent the next chapter in my career.”
Becky Wade announced her marathon comeback this year in Houston, landing third place in the race.
Sarah Crouch missed the Olympic Marathon Trials in 2016, but went on to become the second American woman to cross the finish line in the Boston Marathon and earned a ninth-place overall finish in Chicago last year.
Alia Gray, coached by legend Joe Vigil, surprised fans at the 2016 U.S. Olympics Marathon Trials when she notched a 10th-place finish and a personal best. She finished 10th overall in last year's Chicago Marathon.
Danna Herrick recently transitioned from being a self-coached runner to a professional athlete. The Bank of America Chicago Marathon marks her third appearance in an Abbott World Marathon Major.
Dot McMahan made her debut at the Chicago Marathon in 2006 and returned again in 2010 and 2012. She finished in the top 10 of both the 2008 and 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.
Local runner Kristen Heckert and Michelle Lilienthal round out the list of top Americans. Heckert will be making her sixth appearance at the Chicago marathon and her second as part of the elite field.