‘Legends' Tatyana McFadden, Marcel Hug Return to Chicago Marathon

In total, 22 Paralympians from 10 countries will be competing in the race

Defending champions Tatyana McFadden and Marcel Hug will return to the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in 2018, leading a talented professional wheelchair field. 

Organizers announced the elite wheelchair field Tuesday, which includes eight-time Chicago Marathon champion and course record-holder McFadden and gold medalist and 2017 Chicago champion Hug. 

In total, 22 Paralympians from 10 countries will be competing in the race. 

“Tatyana McFadden and Marcel Hug have become legends in the sport of professional wheelchair racing, and we are excited to welcome both of them back to Chicago for another run at a championship title,” Bank of America Chicago Marathon Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski said in a statement. “It has been incredible to watch the growth of the sport over the last decade, and to see new athletes joining the front of the pack. We have a very competitive field this year.”

McFadden made history from 2013 through 2016 as the only female athlete to win four Abbott World Marathon Major races in one year: London, Boston, Chicago and New York. She returns to Chicago as the most accomplished champion in Chicago Marathon history, looking to capture her eighth consecutive title and ninth in the last 10 years. 

But she'll be hotly contest by rivals Manuela Schar, Amanda McGrory, Madison de Rozario and Susannah Scaroni. Schar finished second to McFadden from 2013 to 2016. McGrory broke that streak last year when she finished second to McFadden in a photo finish. 

Hug, also known as the "silver bullet," dominated the crowded field during last year's race, but he'll have to once again face seven of the top 10 finishers. He'll be battling fellow gold medalist David Weir and Chicago's most decorated wheelchair athlete Kurt Fearnley.

Also competing in the men's field are Josh George, Daniel Romanchuk, Rafael Botello, Jordi Madera, Josh Cassidy, Ryota Yoshida, Hiroki Nishida and Simon Lawson.

Jenna Fesemyer, Katrina Gerhard, Arielle Rausin, Michelle Wheeler, Aline dos Santos Rocha and Margriet Van den Broek are also competing for a top finish in the women's field. 

The 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon is set for Oct. 7. 

Elkanah Kibet surprised race commentators during his marathon debut at the 2015 Bank of America Chicago Marathon when he bolted to the front of the elite field with 22 miles to go and put a 15-second gap on the field. The chase pack caught him at mile nine, and many suspected that Kibet’s bold move would spell disaster in the later stages of the race. But Kibet never relented – he held on to finish seventh overall with his PR of 2:11:31. He returned to Chicago in 2016 to finish 10th, and he represented the U.S. at the 2017 IAAF World Marathon Championships, finishing 16th. He started his 2018 marathon campaign with an eighth-place finish at this year’s historic Boston Marathon – a race that saw many elite runners drop out due to cold temperatures, whipping winds and rain.

Tyler McCandless had a breakthrough at the 2017 USATF Marathon Championships (hosted by the California International Marathon), chopping three minutes from his personal best to place second in 2:12:28. McCandless, an All-American in the 10,000m at Penn State, has steadily improved since he embarked on his professional running career more than 10 years ago. He has qualified for three Olympic Trials in the marathon (including 2020), and, unlike many elite runners, he balances his training with a demanding corporate career. McCandless holds a Ph.D. in meteorology. Most recently, he won the popular Bolder Boulder citizen’s race.

Aaron Braun was a self-professed “mediocre” high school runner with modest PRs, but he emerged as a 16-time All-American with six national titles at Division II Adams State. Today, Braun stands out as one of the most versatile American runners from 5,000m to the marathon, boasting PRs of 13:20.25 for 5,000m; 27:41.54 for 10,000m; 1:01:38 for the half marathon; and 2:12:54 for the marathon. He competed in his first Bank of America Chicago Marathon last fall, stealing the show early on as he led a pack of over 20 men through the early miles. Braun finished 12th in 2:13:41. His 2018 season has included a third-place finish at the Bay to Breakers 12K and a fifth-place finish at the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon.

Kiya Dandena, like McCandless, took a significant step forward in his career last December at the USATF Marathon Championships, running an 11-minute PR to finish third in 2:12:56. He competed in the 2016 Bank of America Chicago Marathon; after hitting 2:14 pace at the half, he fell apart and struggled home to finish 23rd in 2:22:14. Dandena recovered by experiencing a banner year in 2017, setting PRs in every distance from the 10K to the marathon, including a new half marathon PR, 1:03:13.

Andrew Bumbalough, a member of Nike’s Bowerman Track Club, is back in Chicago after racing well in 2017. In just his second go at the 42K distance, he finished 13th overall. This spring, he endured arguably the most brutal conditions in Boston Marathon history to prove not only his physical fitness, but also his mental toughness – he was rewarded with a fifth-place finish. He set his PR during his marathon debut at the 2017 Tokyo Marathon, running a steady and controlled pace to finish in 2:13:58. Following Tokyo, he took part in the Nike Breaking2 project as a pacer. Prior to moving to the marathon, he qualified for the 2012 Olympic Trials in the 5000m and he was the U.S. 5K national champion in 2013.

Parker Stinson – a nine-time All-American, a three-time U.S. junior 10,000m champion and a junior Pan American Games 10,000m champion – made his marathon debut last year at the USATF Marathon Championships. While the results tell one story about how the race ended, anyone who watched the race unfold saw something else. Stinson may have finished 31st in 2:18:07, but he hit mile 22 on a 2:09 pace; at that point, he was running inside of an arena where few Americans have ventured. But proving that elite athletes are mere mortals, he struggled with cramps and side stitches and had to stop several times over the final four miles. After the race, he said, “I wasn't on a suicide mission, but I expected to die a little bit out there. I felt good…until I didn’t.” Stinson’s pure guts running style supplies an element of excitement to this year’s American field. Stinson holds a 1:02:38 PR in the half marathon (run in May at the USATF Half Marathon Championships where he lost by one second) and a 27:54 PR in the 10,000m.

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