bank of america chicago marathon

Chicago Marathon marks significant moment for Olympic hopefuls

Sisson, who set the American record during the 2022 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, is preparing to make her return to city streets in this year's race this weekend

NOTE: A live stream of the 2023 Bank of America Chicago Marathon will appear in the player above beginning at 7 a.m. Tune in live for complete race coverage and a finish line camera showing runners as they cross the finish line.

Some Bank of America Chicago Marathon runners will be racing to finish first, others will be racing to set a personal best, but for some, there's another big challenge on the horizon: the 2024 Olympics.

The Chicago Marathon holds particular significance for runners looking to head to Paris next year.

"Going into the Chicago Marathon this year, my goals have changed a little bit, because 2024 is an Olympic year. And going into the winter, we're actually getting ready for our Olympic Marathon trials. So, I'm seeing Chicago as a good kind of tune-up, preparation race for our trials qualification," American record holder Emily Sisson told NBC Chicago.

With trials set to take place in February, the Chicago event marks one of the final tests for Olympic hopefuls.

"Many of the great athletes who have competed [in Chicago] have gone on to medal in the Olympics," Race Director Carey Pinkowski said in a statement. "It’s a testament to the athletes and it’s a testament to the way the city embraces sports. There’s a tradition and a legacy of athletes doing well in Chicago and then finding success in the Olympics."

Olympic marathon trials are slated to be held on Feb. 3 in downtown Orlando. The top three finishers for both men and women "who meet qualifying performance standards" will represent the U.S.

Those standards include:

GenderEventStandard
MenMarathon2:18:00
WomenMarathon2:37:00

For the American men running in Chicago, finishing in a qualifying time is crucial.

Last year, the top American finisher was Conner Mantz, who made his marathon debut with a seventh-place finish and a time of 02:08:16.

For some, the pressure to prepare for Paris is on in Chicago.

"U.S. women's distance running is really, really good right now. It's just an exciting time to be a distance runner," Sisson said. "And so I know going into our Olympic trials in February, I'm going to have to be as prepared as I can be to try to qualify for Paris. So that's how I'm going to use Chicago is just kind of good preparation."

But outside of Paris major medals will still be on the line in Chicago, and the U.S. contingent will face some stiff competition as they race toward the finish.

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