Legendary American marathon runners Joan Benoit Samuelson and Deena Kastor will make their long-awaited return to Chicago this fall for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.
Both runners will commemorate the anniversaries of their first-place victories in the Chicago race. In 1985, Benoit Samuelson won the race with a record-breaking time of 2:21:21. Kastor claimed the first-place spot in 2005 when with a winning time of 2:21:25.
"These two athletes have inspired, and continue to inspire, generations of runners," said Carey Pinkowski, the executive race director for the marathon. "We are proud to welcome them back to Chicago and can't wait to see what they will do on October 11."
In addition to winning the 1985 Chicago Marathon, Benoit Samuelson is also nationally known for her gold medal win at the inaugural women's Olympic Marathon in the 1984 Games in Los Angeles.
"When I crossed the finish line in 1985, I never thought I would be competing in the same marathon 30 years later," Benoit Samuelson said. "My challenge for this year's Bank of America Chicago Marathon is to run within 30 minutes of my fastest marathon and 1985 Chicago Marathon finishing time."
Kastor has given Benoit Samuelson a run for her money with her marathon performances in recent years as well. Since her Chicago Marathon debut, Kastor has become the only American woman to run the race under 2:20:00, which she accomplished at the London Marathon in 2006.
Kastor also set the record for the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K in Chicago in 2005 with a time of 24:36.
"Racing in Chicago has always been special," Kastor said. "It's hard to believe it's been 10 years since my first marathon win here. I'm proud to return ... to celebrate that accomplishment and continue to push myself towards new goals."