The Bank of America Chicago Marathon has announced two new exceptions that will allow some runners to defer their entries to 2022, if needed in the lead-up to this year's race.
In an update Tuesday, organizers said participants who test positive for COVID-19 within 14 days of the event - meaning on or after Sept. 27 - will be able to fill out an online form asking to defer their place and entry fee to 2022.
Such requests will only be allowed from midnight Sept. 27 through 11:59 p.m. Oct. 10.
Runners who register as non-U.S. residents will also be eligible to defer their spot in the race and their entry fee. Such participants would need to fill out an online form by 5 p.m. on Oct. 6.
Those who are not eligible for either exception but must cancel their registration can do so through 5 p.m. on Oct. 6 and while their entry fee will not be refunded, they will have access to guaranteed entry for the next event, organizers said.
The marathon's COVID protocols were revealed last month for the Oct. 10 race, along with the list of this year's elite field of world-class runners.
Registered participants who are not fully vaccinated must provide a negative test result for a test administered within 72 hours of attending the Chicago Marathon, according to organizers. "Fully vaccinated," according to the event, is defined as "individuals who are two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose vaccine series or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine."
Proof of vaccination may be presented as a hard copy, photocopy or digital version of an immunization record. That proof or proof of a negative COVID-19 test is also required to enter the Abbott Health & Fitness Expo.
"Individuals unable to prove full vaccination or negative test will be barred from
entering the Health & Fitness Expo and unable to pick up the necessary race materials that allow for participation in the event," organizers said.
In addition, all attendees are required to wear face coverings over their mouth and nose at indoor event venues. Participants are encouraged to wear face coverings in Grant Park prior to starting the race. Face coverings will be available post-finish for participants.
Some of the world's best elite runners will race at the 2021 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, organizers announced, joining previously announced headliners Galen Rupp and Sara Hall at the start line.
Getaneh Molla (ETH), Seifu Tura (ETH), Ruth Chepngetich (KEN), Keira D'Amato (USA), and Emma Bates (USA) are among star athletes competing in the 43rd running of the Chicago Marathon, as well as Chicago-area natives Chris Derrick and Lindsay Flanagan. Past champions Daniel Romanchuk, Marcel Hug, Tatyana McFadden and Amanda McGrory will race to win the elite wheelchair competition.
"We are excited to welcome so many outstanding athletes to Grant Park this fall," said Bank of America Chicago Marathon Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski. "While we expect to see fast times up front, we are focusing on celebrating every athlete in this year’s field - and the personal stories, challenges, and triumphs that they bring with them. This event is special in so many ways because it captures the human spirit - from the first runner across the line to the last."
Pinkowski acknowledged that hosting the Chicago Marathon during an Olympic year, coupled with a fall racing season that includes all six of the Abbott World Marathon Majors, adds to the excitement of the city's beloved race.
Seven sub-2:06 men in the field are vying for their first AbbottWMM victory, organizers said, setting the stage for a dramatic race up front, including two-time Olympic medalist Rupp, 2019 Dubai Marathon champion Molla, 2018 Valencia Marathon runner-up Hassan El Abbassi (BRN) and 2021 Milan Marathon fourth-place finisher Tura.
Naperville native and 2018 USATF Half Marathon champion Derrick will join five local elites from the Second City Track Club, including Dan Kremske (USA).
"The 2021 Bank of America Chicago Marathon will undoubtedly be a special one," said Kremske in a statement. "I've missed the excitement of Marathon Sunday and cannot wait to experience that energy again this October. I look forward to sharing in the joy of my fellow Chicagoans as we make our triumphant return to racing. My hope is that Marathon Sunday will be a celebration of one another, our great city, and the
resilience of the human spirit."
Kenyan sensation Ruth Chepngetich, the fourth fastest woman in history who set the world record in the half marathon this spring, will make her Bank of America Chicago Marathon debut. D’Amato and Bates join Hall as the top Americans in the field.
"I have never raced in the States and making my debut in such a great race like the Bank of America Chicago Marathon is more than a dream to me," said Chepngetich. "I will give all myself trying to run as fast as possible. The presence of such a wonderful elite field will boost me."
Several athletes in the elite wheelchair competition will compete back-to-back, in Chicago on Oct. 10 and Boston on Oct. 11, with Romanchuk, Hug and McFadden planning to complete the double.
"McFadden stands out as the most decorated athlete in Bank of America Chicago Marathon history with eight championships," organizers said, noting that Romanchuk, the 2018 and 2019 champion, and two-time champion Hug could "propel each
other to course record times if the conditions are right."
"The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is where my Abbott World Marathon Majors journey began back when I was 16 and where I won for the first time, so it's very special to me," said Romanchuk. "We've all been eagerly anticipating the return of in-person marathon racing, and I can't wait to get back to the streets of Chicago!"