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Kenya's Ruth Chepngetich celebrates after winning the World Marathon Championship in Doha

Athletics

Kenyans favored as Chicago Marathon returns Sunday

WASHINGTON, United States, Oct 8 – Kenyans Reuben Kipyego and Ruth Chepngetich will carry favored roles into Sunday’s 43rd Chicago Marathon, which returns to the Windy City streets after Covid-19 scrapped last year’s race.

Sara Hall, chasing a 15-year-old American women’s marathon record, and Galen Rupp, the 2017 Chicago champion, lead US hopes over the 26.2-mile layout, with warm conditions expected.

Kipyego has the top men’s entry time of 2hrs 3mins 55secs from a runner-up finish at Milan in May. He went 2:04:12 at Valencia last December and won in 2019 at Abu Dhabi in 2:04:40.

Four other entrants have cracked 2:05:00, including Kenya’s Dickson Chumba, the 2015 Chicago winner and Tokyo Marathon champion in 2014 and 2018; Ethiopian Seifu Tura, the 2018 Shanghai and Milan winner who ran 2:04:29 to finish fourth at Milan in May; Ethiopia’s Chalu Deso, who went 2:04:53 to finish sixth at Valencia last December; and Japan’s Kengo Suzuki, who went 2:04:56 to win at Otsu, Japan, in February.

Rupp, third in the 2016 Rio Olympic marathon, was eighth at the Tokyo Olympics in 2:11:41.

He snapped a 15-year US men’s win drought at Chicago in 2017 but finished fifth in 2018 and dropped out in 2019 with a calf strain.

“The 2021 Chicago Marathon is going to be an awesome celebration,” said Rupp.

Chepngetich, the 2019 world champion, makes her US debut in Chicago.

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She set a world half-marathon record of 1:04:02 in April at Istanbul and her marathon best of 2:17:08 to win at Dubai in 2019 makes her the fourth-fastest woman in history at the distance.

“I’ve never raced in the States and making my debut in such a great race like the Chicago Marathon is more than a dream to me,” she said.

“I’ll give all myself trying to run as fast as possible.”

Hall will be chasing the American record of 2:19:36 set by Deena Kastor in winning the 2006 London Marathon.

She will also be trying to become the first US woman to win at Chicago since Kastor in 2005.

“When I thought about where I wanted to chase the American record, I thought it would be more exciting to do it at home,” Hall said. “And Chicago is such an epic race.”

Last year, Hall ran 2:22:01 to finish second in London behind Brigid Kosgei, the Kenyan who won the 2018 and 2019 Chicago titles.

She also went 2:20:32 last year in Arizona at an event designed to challenge records, putting Hall second on seeding times ahead of Kenya’s Vivian Kiplagat, at 2:21:11 from her 2019 Abu Dhabi triumph, and Ethiopia’s Meseret Belete, on 2:24:54 from last year’s fourth place finish at Houston.

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