Two of the 10 fastest women in U.S. history, along with several other elite American athletes, will be hitting Chicago streets for the 2019 Bank of America Chicago Marathon.
Organizers announced Thursday the lineup of U.S. runners who will toe the line with superstars Galen Rupp and Jordan Hasay as they look to make it to the podium.
Hasay, the second-fastest American woman in history and the fastest to ever run the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, will face stiff competition as she looks to break a long-standing American record set by icon Deena Kastor.
Joining Hasay will be the fifth-fastest American woman in history Amy Cragg, Emma Bates, Stephanie Bruce, Lindsay Flanagan and Taylor Ward.
“The Chicago Marathon is my US major," Cragg said in a statement. "It’s the US major of the people of the Midwest, and it’s the US Major that I love and look to race every year... Having grown up in Kansas this is as close to home as it gets. To race Chicago means I am racing for my roots, my family, and where my love for this sport began."
The group of elite women will also be looking to make history together as the last time three American women finished in the top five in Chicago was 1994. The last time U.S. women claimed the top two spots was 1992.
“I’ve been wanting to race the Chicago Marathon my whole career, and 2019 is finally the year," Bates said in a statement. "I’m looking to keep the momentum of U.S. marathoning rolling and compete for a top-five finish on race day.”
On the men's side, joining two-time Olympic medalist and American record-holder Galen Rupp in his quest for a second Chicago victory will be some major U.S. contenders, including Brogan Austin, Naperville-native Chris Derrick, Scott Smith, Diego Estrada, Dathan Ritzenhein, Noah Droddy and Brendan Gregg.
"I've grown up watching all of the marathon greats compete in the Windy City and couldn't be more ecstatic to be a part of the tradition," Austin said in a statement. "Training has been going really well in my buildup, which makes me eager to contend for a top finish while on my journey toward Tokyo 2020. I’ll be on the lookout for homemade signs on the course with post-race deep dish suggestions."
“This year’s elite field highlights an exciting resurgence we are seeing in American distance running right now,” Bank of America Chicago Marathon Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski said in a statement. “We have a deep pool of Americ an runners who are coming to Chicago to run fast, and we cannot wait to welcome them in the fall. We could see new American records and a lot of personal bests in October.”
The American group will face some stiff competition as defending champion and Olympic gold medalist Sir Mo Farah will look to defend his title. Farah finished the 2018 race with the eighth-fastest time in Bank of America Chicago Marathon history.
The 42nd annual Bank of America Chicago Marathon will set off Oct. 13 with more than 40,000 runners expected to cross the finish line.
UPDATE: US running stars Amy Cragg, Brogan Austin and Chris Derrick have since dropped out of the 2019 event, organizers said.