Some of the world's best elite runners will race at the 2021 Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Sunday, Oct. 10, organizers announced Tuesday, 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!"