Chicago Marathon Adds More East-African Firepower

A dozen very fast East Africans join the fray.

A dozen athletes join the fray.

Written by: David Monti
(c) 2011 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

A 2:05 marathoner, Bazu Worku leads the Ethiopian charge at the Chicago Marathon. Photo:

Organizers of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, scheduled for Sunday, October 9, have added a dozen East African athletes to their roster, completing their 2011 elite fields.

On the men’s side Ethiopians Bazu Worku (2:05:25 PB), Getu Feleke (2:05:44), Bekana Daba (2:07:04), and Terefe Maregu (2:09:03); and Kenyans Evans Cheruiyot (2:06:25), Bernard Kipyego (2:07:01), Joshua Chelanga (2:08:21), Wesley Korir (2:08:24), and Dickson Chumba (2:08:44) were added to the field, according to executive race director Carey Pinkowski.  On the women’ side, the race also added Ethiopians Askale Tafa (2:21:31 PB), Atsede Besuye (2:24:26), and Belainesh Gebre (2:32:13).

“These athletes round out an elite field that is not only dynamic, but has the potential to attack the record books,” Pinkowski commented through a media release.  “If the weather is good, there could be some reshuffling of not just the Bank of America Chicago Marathon records, but also the list of all-time fastest certified marathons.  You’re looking at a field that is not going to be afraid to push the pace with a mix of young, fearless athletes, and seasoned performers who have tasted victory and success at the marathon distance.”

Pinkowski also said that Irishman Martin Fagan and Australian Shawn Forrest would also run in Chicago and try to lock in Olympic Games qualifying times.  For Forrest, Chicago would be his first marathon.

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is the fastest in the United States.  Even taking into account the superfast times at Boston last April, Chicago has recorded more than twice the number of sub-2:07 marathons than Boston: 16 to 7.  The course records are 2:05:41 by the late Samuel Wanjiru in 2009, and 2:17:18 by Paula Radcliffe in 2002.