For many marathoners, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon will be their last big race ahead of the 2020 Olympic Team Trials.
A final attempt at preparing to make Team USA means many athletes on the Windy City course will face fierce competition.
"Women's distance running is so strong in this country and I know that it's going to be tough to make the team in 2020, but I'm going to be ready," runner Emma Bates said in a statement. "I am eager to apply the knowledge I gained during my debut to running in Chicago this fall. I am really enjoying my training right now, and the past few months have been consistently good. I cannot wait to experience the energy in Chicago on Oct. 13."
“I am very excited to debut in my first Abbott World Marathon Major at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon! 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. 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," runner Brogan Austin said in a statement. "I’ll be on the lookout for homemade signs on the course with post-race deep dish suggestions!”
The Chicago Marathon already features a number of Olympic athletes, some of whom are focused on returning to the Games in 2020.
Among the Olympians racing in Chicago is Diego Estrada, who made his first Olympic appearance at the London 2012 Games on the Mexican track team. His dream of representing the U.S. at the Olympics came to a screeching halt in 2016 when he sustained an Achilles injury at the Chicago Marathon and was unable to compete at the Olympic Trials to qualify for Rio.
"My long-term focus is on 2020, but my focus right now is on getting a PR this fall and seeing how fast I can go. Chicago is the best place to do that," Estrada said in a statement.
In addition, para-athletes will also be using the marathon to compete for a slot on Team USA at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. The 2019 Chicago race will host the 2020 U.S. Paralympic Team Trials Marathon.
“We are thrilled to be hosting the U.S. Paralympic Team Trials again,” Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski said in a statement. “So many of our best U.S. athletes are coached by Adam Bleakney at the University of Illinois, so hosting the trials in Chicago is like a hometown race for our future Paralympians. It’s going to be a competitive race up front with everyone focused on 2020.”
Among those competing in the race are defending champions Manuela Schar and Daniel Romanchuk, along with eight-time Chicago Marathon champion Tatyana McFadden and five-time Paralympian Ernst Van Dyk.
Global sensations Amanda McGrory, Madison de Rozario, Susannah Scaroni and relative newcomer Eliza Ault-Connell will also be rounding out the elite women’s field. On the men’s side will be a strong contigent of competitors, including Josh George, Aaron Pike, Hiroki Nishida and Johnboy Smith.
“The athletes in this year’s field are phenomenal, and it is always an honor to welcome our defending champions back to the start line,” Pinkowski said. “Manuela and Daniel continue to raise the bar of para-athletics, and they are leading a new generation of runners to train harder and dream bigger. It’s an exciting time for the sport.”
The race will take place on Oct. 13, 2019.