2012 Champion Tsegaye Kebede returns to highlight the men's field. American Deena Kastor will go against half-marathon world record holder Florence Kiplagat on the women's side.
The 2015 Chicago Marathon elite fields were announced by organizers on Thursday morning which include 2012 champion Tsegaye Kebede, half-marathon world record holder Florence Kiplagat and other top Americans in the Oct. 11 race.
The Chicago Marathon has eliminated pace-setters, so the elite athletes will truly be facing off in a race against each other and not the clock.
“These athletes have the ability to test themselves and chase their goals on race day,” Chicago Marathon executive race director Carey Pinkowski said in a press release. “The streets of Chicago will see some incredible talent and competition as these men and women show off their Olympic-level talent.”
Tsegaye Kebede, who paraded down the final stretch on Columbus waving his headband to win in his personal best of 2:04:38, returns to Chicago after a disappointing showing last fall at the Berlin Marathon. Most recently, Kebede ran 2:07:58 for an eighth place finish at the 2015 Tokyo Marathon in February.
It could be an Ethiopia vs. Kenya battle in the final miles, as Sammy Kitwara holds the fastest personal best in the field with his 2:04:28 mark from last year's Chicago Marathon. 2015 marks his fourth year running the Chicago Marathon, and each year, he has incrementally chipped away toward the top of the podium: fourth place in 2012, third place in 2013 and second place in 2014.
Other Kenyans in the field include 2014 third place finisher Dickson Chumba (2:04:32), 2012 Boston Marathon champion Wesley Korir (2:06:13), Lucas Rotich (2:07:17) and Sammy Ndungu (2:07:04).
Ethiopia's next biggest star challenger behind Kebede will be Endeshaw Negesse, winner of the 2015 Tokyo Marathon, who looks to earn points in the World Marathon Majors standings and try to win the $500,000 prize purse that comes along to the winner with the best finishes from the Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London, New York or Tokyo Marathons.
Not many Americans have decided to run fall marathons with the U.S. Marathon Olympic Trials awaiting on Feb. 13. The top American in the field will be Fernando Cabada, who holds a 2:11:36 personal best from the 2014 Berlin Marathon.
Florence Kiplagat comes back to Chicago after finishing second in 2:25:57 last year. Kiplagat holds the the half marathon world record of 65:09, which she set in Barcelona in February. She holds a personal best of 2:19:44 from her run at the 2011 Berlin Marathon.
Ethiopians Mulu Seboka and Amane Gobena head to Chicago with the next two fastest personal bests. Seboka, a 12-year veteran to the 26.2 mile distance, has run more than thirty marathons and set a personal best of 2:21:56 with a sixth place finish on the fast-course of the Dubai Marathon. Gobena took second at the 2015 Paris Marathon in 2:23:30.
2013 World Championship marathon bronze medalist Kayoko Fukushi of Japan looks to prevent the African podium sweep. This is her first return to the Chicago Marathon since a 2:24:38 performance for second place in 2011.
More American women (six) will be featured than on the men's side. 2004 Olympic bronze medalist Deena Kastor, 42, will go for the American masters record of 2:28:40, set by Colleen De Rueck at the 2005 Chicago Marathon. She will head to Chicago with a strong 2014 season under her belt, as she set five masters world records en route to the half-marathon masters world record of 1:09:37 at the More/Fitness/Shape Women's Half-Marathon in April. Kastor holds the American record with her 2:19:36 victory at the 2006 London Marathon when she was 33.
Olympian Blake Russell, 40, will run her second marathon of the year after winning the U.S. Marathon Championships in February at the 2015 L.A. Marathon. She ran 2:34:57 after not having run a marathon since the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Other Americans include Tera Moody (2:30:53), Lindsey Scherf (2:32:19), Sarah Crouch (2:32:44), Sara Hall (2:48:02).
Full fields can be seen below: