The 41st Chicago Marathon airs live on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA and streams on NBC Sports Gold for subscribers on Sunday at 8 a.m. ET.
Two-time U.S. Olympic medalist Galen Rupp defends his title against four-time Olympic track champion Mo Farah of Great Britain, plus Kenyan Geoffrey Kirui, the 2017 World champion who beat Rupp at the 2017 Boston Marathon.
While top U.S. female marathoners Amy Cragg and Jordan Hasay withdrew before Sunday’s race, it still includes perhaps the most intriguing distance runner, Gwen Jorgensen. Jorgensen switched to the marathon after becoming the first U.S. Olympic triathlon champion in Rio (and becoming a mom in 2017).
The most decorated marathoner racing Sunday is Tatyana McFadden, a 17-time Paralympic medalist who swept the Boston, Chicago, London and New York City Marathon wheelchair titles in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Rupp, 32, last year became the first U.S. male runner to win Chicago since Khalid Khannouchi in 2002. After Rupp ran a personal-best marathon in Prague last time out, he now says Khannouchi’s American record in the marathon is in play on Sunday.
A major reason why is that Rupp expects to be pushed by a strong field.
Farah, a 35-year-old who dominated track distance races with 10 Olympic/world titles between 2011 and 2017, finished third in the London Marathon on April 22 in his first 26.2-miler since switching full-time to road racing.
Kirui is arguably the world’s best marathoner aside from Kenyan world-record holder Eliud Kipchoge. In addition to his 2017 Boston and world titles, he finished second in Boston this year as the only elite East African runner to place in the top eight of either the men or women in hypothermia-inducing weather.
The Chicago women’s field is not as strong after the world bronze medalist Cragg and Hasay, the second-fastest U.S. female marathoner in history, dropped out due to health setbacks.
Kenyans Brigid Kosgei (2017 Chicago and 2018 London runner-up) and Florence Kiplagat (2015 and 2016 Chicago winner) and Ethiopians Roza Dereje (2018 Dubai winner in 2:19:17) and Birhane Dibaba (2018 Tokyo winner in 2:19:51) are the favorites.
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