bank of america chicago marathon

Could history be made in 2023 Chicago Marathon? Runners eye world record potential

With "one of the deepest, most-decorated assemblies of athletes in race history" set to run in this weekend's race, the competition to not only end at the top of the podium, but to do so in record-setting fashion is high

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.

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is known for making history, with several world records set in the last four and a half decades, but the 2023 race could add even more to that list.

With "one of the deepest, most-decorated assemblies of athletes in race history" set to run in this weekend's race, the competition to not only end at the top of the podium, but to do so in record-setting fashion is high.

And it's not just one race that has the potential to make history.

“Chicago has been home to world-records, historic debuts and has served as an introduction to runners who became legends of the sport,” Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski said in a statement. “As we prepare to celebrate a landmark year in the race’s history, we anticipate historic performances that we will talk about for years to come.”

Women's World Record Potential

This year's race will see all four of its defending champions returning to city streets on Oct. 8, and while no runner has finished on top three years straight, that could happen this year, possibly in world record fashion.

Two-time women's champ Ruth Chepngetich will eye her third straight victory after narrowly missing a world record in 2022.

Chepngetich, of Kenya, ran the second-fastest time ever in the Chicago race last year, falling just 14 seconds behind Brigid Kosgei's 2019 world record finish.

"My strategy this year is to defend my title in a row three times," Chepngetich said during a press conference Friday. "And I'm fighting for that ... world record."

Chepngetich said "nothing is impossible" when it comes to achieving the goal she set for herself last year, but she'll be facing some stiff competition in the women's field as 2023 London Marathon champion Sifan Hassan, one of the most accomplished distance running stars, will make her American debut in the race.

Hassan made her marathon debut in London last April and won with a national record, despite stopping twice to stretch.

She said she chose to make her U.S. debut in Chicago because she heard it was a "beautiful city."

Also in the women's race is a strong contingent of American runners, including American record holder Emily Sisson, who made history in her 2022 Chicago race. Sisson told NBC Chicago she's not focused on beating her record time, but noted that the elite lineup around her could push her even harder than last 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," Sisson said. "So that's how I'm viewing it. I just want to race the field, I want to finish as high as I can. Run as smart as I can. And yeah, to have something to take away because I'm actually still really new to the marathon distance. So I'm looking forward to just like learning a bit more, and having some good takeaways."

Men's record on the line

Among the notable names are 2022 men's champion Benson Kipruto.

Kipruto broke away in the 25th mile last year to win with the fourth fastest time ever in Chicago. If he wins again, he will be the first back-to-back men’s open field champion since Sammy Wanjiru in 2010.

But he'll be lining up against the second-fastest man in history.

Fellow Kenyan Kelvin Kiptum, who won the 2023 London Marathon in what was only his second-ever marathon race and nearly broke a world record, will make his U.S. marathon debut in Chicago.

Kiptum won the 2023 London Marathon in 2:01:25, just 16 seconds shy of Eluid Kipchoge’s world record. And he's confident he could set a record in Chicago.

"I think on Sunday, if the weather is good, I will go under the current course record," he said.

In addition, Olympic medalist Bashir Abdi, 2021 Chicago winner Seifu Tura, Olympic hopeful and American leader Connor Mantz and 2017 champion and the only American to win the race in the last 20 years, Galen Rupp.

While not record-breaking potential, Mantz will eye what no American man has done so far in the lead-up to the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

So far, no American man has run the Olympic standard of 2:08:10, but Mantz has reached the closest time of any American runner in the Chicago field.

"It's on my mind," Mantz said. "But really, my focus is on my process, goals and trying to, you know, make sure I just run my own race. I think it's gonna happen if I do that, though."

Men's Wheelchair Course Record

In the men's wheelchair race, Hug will return to defend his title and course record, but he'll be battling three-time Chicago champion Daniel Romanchuk, along with other elite racers Aaron Pike, Sho Watanbe, five-time Chicago winner Ernst Van Dyk and Jetze Plat, who will make his Chicago debut.

"I think, generally, there are so many things that need to fit together to have a win here. If you asked me about the key factor, I think I always try to keep them... at a pace, the speed high. Yeah, to avoid a finish sprint ... Because in the finish sprint, there is a lot of risk that other athletes can take there when you have a good position. And I think also Daniel and other athletes, they are very strong in their sprint. So I think for me, that's the key that I try to have a good speed from the start, especially last year when I tried to to break the course record."

Record Number of Finishers

The 2023 Bank of American Chicago Marathon is shaping up to be the race's largest ever.

With more than 47,000 participants expected to run in this year's race, organizers said it could be "the largest finisher field to date."

The previous record was set in 2019, with 45,932 finishers crossing the finish line.

Contact Us