Chicago Marathon Announces Elite Field, Including Kate O’Neill


2008 Olympic Women’s Marathon Gold Medalist Constantina Tomescu-Dita Tops List


CHICAGO (September 9, 2008) – Bank
of America today announced the elite field of male and female athletes
scheduled to compete for the 2008 Bank of America Chicago Marathonå¨
championship titles on Sunday, Oct. 12. Topping the list is newly
crowned Olympic women’s marathon gold medalist Constantina Tomescu-Dita
of Romania and up-and-comer William Kipsang of Kenya who currently
holds the 11th all-time fastest marathon finish time, fifth-fastest this year (2:05:49).


age 38, Tomescu-Dita became the oldest woman to ever win the gold medal
in the 26.2-mile Olympic contest. Familiar to Chicagoans, Tomescu-Dita
won the 2004 ChicagoMarathon and her 2008 appearance will mark her
fifth on the notoriously fast and flat course. In her last two Chicago
appearances, Tomescu-Dita finished second to American Deena Kastor
(2005) and led the 2006 women’s field at course record pace  (sub-2:17) through mile 16 before being surpassed by eventual champion Berhane Adere (ETH) in the 22nd mile.


am delighted to be returning to Chicago. I have always felt great
running there and have been fortunate to have some of the best races of
my life there,” said Tomescu-Dita from Romania shortly following her
Olympic victory in Beijing. “It will also be nice to return because I
understand Chicago is bidding for the 2016 Olympic Games and I think it
would be a wonderful place to have them.”


will be challenged by 2007 Chicago Marathon runner-up and fellow
Romanian Adriana Pirtea, 28, and up-and-comer Bezunesh Bekele, 25, of
Ethiopia. Chicago fans will recognize Pirtea who came into the final
stretch last year with a sizeable lead. As she pumped her arm in
victory a few hundred meters from the finish, returning 2006 Chicago
champ Adere streaked up behind her unnoticed until she was uncatchable
in the final strides to repeat her championship finish. Bekele will
follow-up her impressive debut at the Dubai Marathon entering the
Chicago race with a 2:23:09 personal record, second in the field only
to Tomescu-Dita.   


the men’s side, William Kipsang, 31, is the man to beat arriving off a
2:05:49 first-place finish at the Rotterdam Marathon in April. Kenya’s
Emmanuel Mutai, 30, will put some pressure on Kipsang considering his
fourth-place finish at the Flora London Marathon in April where he set
a personal record (2:06:15). Also expected to be in the mix is fellow
countryman Richard Limo who finished second to Mutai at last year’s
Amsterdam Marathon, crossing the line only 16 seconds behind the


Bank of America Chicago Marathon has a reputation for producing
historic efforts and breathtaking finishes and the quality of this
year’s elite field is an extension of that tradition,” said Executive
Race Director Carey Pinkowski of Chicago Event Management, now in his
19th year overseeing the event. “This year’s men’s field features four
men who have run under 2:07:00, one who has run under 2:06:00 and
champions from some of the great marathons of the world which should
produce another great day of marathon running on Oct. 12.”


the United States in Chicago are Kate O’Neill and Colleen De Reuck.
O’Neill, 28, will return to the site of her 2007 debut at the marathon
distance, looking to best her time of 2:36:15 on the Chicago course.
Masters runner Colleen De Reuck, 44, will return for her sixth Chicago


elite racers will start the 26.2-mile Bank of AmericaChicagoMarathon
course at 7:55 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 12, five minutes in advance of the
massive field of 45,000 registered runners. Following is the current
list of elite athletes who will compete for the $125,000 first-place
prize distributed to the top male and female overall winners.


2008 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Elite Field


Name                                       Citizenship      Personal Record


Bezunesh Bekele                       ETH                 2:23:09

Alevtina Biktimirova                  RUS                 2:25:12

Colleen De Reuck                     USA                 2:26:35

Zoila Gomez                              USA                 2:33:53

Lidiya Grigoryeva                      RUS                 2:25:10

Kate O’Neill                             USA                 2:36:15

Adriana Pirtea                           ROU                2:28:52

Kiyoko Shimahara                     JPN                  2:26:14

Worknesh Tola                          ETH                 2:25:37

Constantina Tomescu-Dita         ROU                2:21:30



Moses Arusei                            KEN                2:06:50

Christopher Cheboiboch             KEN                2:08:17

Timothy Cherigat                       KEN                2:09:34

James Getanda                          KEN                2:11:50

Salim Kipsang                           KEN                2:07:29

William Kipsang                        KEN                2:05:49

Richard Limo                            KEN                2:06:45

Emmanuel Mutai                       KEN                2:06:15


of America is recognized as a leading financial partner, advisor and
sponsor across the American sports landscape. As a world-class
financial institution with a dedicated Sports Finance and Advisory
team, we help owners, leagues and franchises address their full range
of needs – from building stadiums to redesigning their capital


a sports marketing leader, Bank of America proudly serves as the
Official Bank of Major League Baseballå¨, the Official Bank of NASCARå¨,
the Official Bank of the NFLå¨, and the Official Bank Sponsor of the
2008 U.S. Olympic Teamå¨, while supporting an expansive nationwide
sponsorship portfolio that includes the Bank of America 500å¨, Bank of
America Chicago Marathonå¨ and a variety of arts and cultural


Bank of AmericaChicagoMarathon

2008 Bank of America Chicago Marathon will start and finish in
Chicago’s Grant Park beginning with the wheelchair race at 7:50 a.m. on
Sunday, Oct. 12. Registration opened to the public on Feb. 1 and closed
on April 23 when the participant capacity of 45,000 was reached. In
advance of the race, a two-day Health & Fitness Expo will be held
at McCormick Place on Friday, Oct. 10 and Saturday, Oct. 11. In its 31st year, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon annually attracts 45,000 runners, 1.5 million spectators  and
125,000 Expo visitors and generates more than $10 million for
charities. The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is one of the five
races that comprise the World Marathon Majors. More information on the
race and how to get involved is available at


Bank of America

of America is one of the world’s largest financial institutions,
serving individual consumers, small and middle market businesses and
large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset
management and other financial and risk-management products and
services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United
States, serving more than 59 million consumer and small business
relationships with more than 6,100 retail banking offices, more than
18,500 ATMs and award-winning online banking with more than 25 million
active users. Bank of America offers industry leading support to more
than 4 million small business owners through a suite of innovative,
easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients in
more than 150 countries and has relationships with 99 percent of the
U.S. Fortune 500 companies and 83 percent of the Fortune Global 500.
Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is a component of the Dow
Jones Industrial Average and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

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