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Sammy Wanjiru to Make US Marathon Debut at Chicago

2008 Olympic
Marathon Gold Medalist Sammy Wanjiru Selects

2009 Bank of
America Chicago Marathon for U.S. Debut

 

Former Chicago
Marathon Champions Evans Cheruiyot, Patrick Ivuti and Lidiya Grigoryeva

to Contend for
Repeat Championships

 

CHICAGO, IL (July 21, 2009) ̨ å¼ 2008 Olympic
Marathon gold medalist Sammy Wanjiru (KEN) today announced he will make his
first U.S. appearance at the 2009 Bank of America Chicago Marathon in an
attempt to better his current personal marathon record (2:05:10). With two
sub-2:06 marathons to his credit and the benefits of Chicago’s sleek course,
the 22-year-old Kenyan’s goals are within reach.

 

“My plan for the fall is to lower my
personal record and the Bank of America Chicago Marathon course offers the best
opportunity for me to achieve that this year,‰Û¢bCrLf said Wanjiru from Kenya. “My
only focus between now and October is to prepare and train aggressively for my
best performance yet.‰Û¢bCrLf

 

Wanjiru
has quickly made a name for himself in the world of distance running, first capturing
the half marathon world record in 2005, lowering it in 2007 and winning three
of the four marathons in which he has competed. His Olympic gold medal
performance last summer in Beijing was the first ever for a Kenyan athlete in
the marathon and marked his first World Marathon Majors (WMM) victory. This
spring, he captured a second consecutive WMM win with his fastest time yet at
the 2009 London Marathon (2:05:10).

 

“Sammy
is certainly the athlete to watch in this sport right now and we are honored to
be able to host him at such a pivotal point in his career,‰Û¢bCrLf said Carey
Pinkowski, Executive Race Director for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.
“We have had the pleasure of witnessing four previous world records in Chicago
and if conditions are right, the enthusiastic sports fans in this city could
have the opportunity to see that again.‰Û¢bCrLf

 

Challenging Wanjiru for the title will
be 2008 Bank of America Chicago Marathon champion Evans Cheruiyot (KEN) and
2007 champion Patrick Ivuti (KEN). Cheruiyot, 27, has competed in only three
marathons including his WMM debut in Chicago last fall. He broke the tape in a
personal best 2:06:25, an impressive feat considering the unseasonably warm
weather.

 

Ivuti, 31, will make his third Chicago
appearance this fall, returning to the site where he posted the closest margin
of victory in Chicago Marathon history in 2007. Amid record heat and humidity,
Ivuti thrilled fans with a shoulder-to-shoulder sprint against two-time World
Champion Jaouad Gharib (MAR), crossing the finish line only half a second ahead
of Gharib (2:11:11). In 2005, he made his marathon debut in Chicago where he
posted his current personal best (2:07:46) in a fifth-place finish.   

 

Reigning women’s Chicago Marathon
champion Lidiya Grigoryeva (RUS) will defend the title she earned in Chicago
last October with a finish time of  2:27:17.  Grigoryeva, 35, is the 2007
Boston Marathon champion and owns a personal best of 2:25:10 set in Los Angeles
in 2006. Her primary contender is 2005 Chicago Marathon champion Deena Kastor
(USA) who has already set her sights on lowering the American marathon record
she currently owns (2:19:36).

 

“Today’s
announcement significantly advances the depth of our elite athlete field for
the October 11 race and continues the tradition of world class marathon
competition in Chicago,‰Û¢bCrLf said Pinkowski.

 

The Bank
of America Chicago Marathon is one of the most competitive marathons in the
world. In its storied history it has hosted some of the great names in the
sport including Steve Jones, Joan Benoit-Samuelson, Khalid Khannouchi,
Catherine Ndereba, Deena Kastor and Paula Radcliffe. Currently, the 2009 start
line will feature four former Chicago Marathon champions, eight World Marathon
Major victories and two Olympic medalists.

 

In its
32nd year and a member of the World Marathon Majors, the Bank of
America Chicago Marathon annually attracts 45,000 runners including a world
class elite field and 1.5 million spectators. As a result of its national and
international draw, the iconic race assists in raising $10 million for a
variety of charitable causes while generating an estimated $140 million
economic impact to its host city.

 

The 2009
Bank of America Chicago Marathon will start and finish in Chicago’s Grant Park
beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 11. In advance of the race, a two-day
Health & Fitness Expo will be held at McCormick Place on Friday, October 9
and Saturday, October 10. More information on the race  and how to get involved
is available at the event Web site, chicagomarathon.com.

 

 

www.chicagomarathon.com

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