The Chicago Marathon is known for bringing in a star-studded field of athletes and this year is no different.
But with so many big names on the list, who should you be paying attention to?
We're breaking it down.
Last year, Galen Rupp became the first American champion of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in over a decade, and this year he’ll be looking to defend his title against an incredible field of runners.
Rupp, who won last year’s race in a time of 2:09:20, has only improved this season, and set a new personal best at the Prague Marathon in May, trimming over three seconds off of his Chicago-winning time.
Opposing Rupp will be a strong field of runners, including his former training partner Mo Farah. Farah has won four Olympic gold medals, and has a pair of 10,000 meter racing gold medals this season, capturing titles in Manchester and London. He also finished third in the London Marathon in April.
Bernard Kipyego, a Kenyan-born runner who won third place in last year’s race in Chicago, is hoping that he can use his speed to his advantage, as he’s run sub-hour half-marathons on a staggering six different occasions in his running career.
He will be joined by several other elite runners near the front of the pack, including Kenya’s Abel Kirui, who fell just short of winning back-to-back Chicago Marathons after he finished in the runner-up spot last season.
Stephen Sambu, who has won the Shamrock Shuffle 8K race in Chicago on four separate occasions will also be targeting Rupp in the race.
On the women’s side, Ethiopian star Tirunesh Dibaba will not be defending her title this season, and American-born runner Jordan Hasay, who finished third last year, will also miss the race due to injury.
In fact, only one of the top five runners in the field from last year is back this time around, with 2017 runner-up Brigid Kosgei back in the mix. She has had a solid season thus far, finishing in the runner-up spot in the London Marathon, and she’s also been in fine form in the Honolulu Marathon in Hawaii, winning in each of the last two years.
Two-time Marathon champion Florence Kiplagat is also out for revenge this season after she failed to finish last year’s race. She has racked up top-10 finishes all over the world in her career, and she could be poised for a return to glory this time around.
One runner to keep an eye on is 22-year-old Roza Dereje, who won the Dubai and Shanghai Marathons this season. She will be making her Chicago debut this time around, and will hope to make a big statement in a strong field of runners.
On the American side, Amy Cragg boasts the top personal record in the field, racing in 2:21:42 in Tokyo this year. She hasn’t run in Chicago since 2014, but has been improving her style in recent races and is hoping to be the top-American finisher with Hasay out of the field.
Taylor Ward, Laura Thweatt
Taylor Ward, who finished ninth in last year’s Marathon, and Laura Thweatt, who won the Shamrock Shuffle earlier this year in Chicago, are also in the field and are hoping to deny Cragg that distinction.
The two-time defending champion in the Men’s Wheelchair race is back again, as Marcel Hug will look to continue his incredible run. Hug has won in Chicago, Berlin, Boston, and Tokyo in each of the last two years, an incredible grand slam of glory that is hard to fathom, and he will be trying for his third straight crown in Chicago.
Kurt Fearnley of Australia, who finished in second last year, is looking to get back to the top of the podium, where he’s resided on five different occasions in Chicago. Canadian racer Josh Cassidy, American Josh George, and American Aaron Pike are among those who will be looking to deny Hug a three-peat in the race.
In the Women’s Wheelchair race, there is one woman to beat: Tatyana McFadden. She has won a staggering seven years in a row, including last year’s photo finish against Amanda McGrory, and will be looking to add yet another trophy to her crowded display case.
McGrory, who has finished in the top three in four of the last five Chicago Marathons, and Manuela Schar, who finished just two seconds behind McFadden last year, are both back in what is sure to be a highlight of the race through downtown Chicago.
Sandra Graf and Susannah Scaroni
Switzerland’s Sandra Graf and Susannah Scaroni will also look to make some serious noise in an excellent field.