Tirunesh Dibaba takes on first marathon outside London at Chicago Marathon
The penultimate Abbott World Marathon Major of 2017, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, takes place on Sunday with some of the world’s leading distance runners going head-to-head in the Windy City.
A number of names will be familiar to followers of the Virgin Money London Marathon, chief among them Tirunesh Dibaba, the Ethiopian great who finished runner-up behind Mary Keitany in this year’s London Marathon in a time of 2 hours 17 minutes and 56 seconds, which made her the third fastest female marathon runner in history.
Dibaba, who will be running in her first ever marathon outside London, will be looking to move up the Abbott World Marathon Majors Series XI leaderboard, with a strong showing in Chicago. She currently sits in joint second place with the 16 points she earned at the London Marathon in April.
The main rival to Dibaba is likely to be Kenya’s Florence Kiplagat who is going for her third win in Chicago in a row. Home fans, meanwhile, will be hoping for another impressive run on home soil from Jordan Hasay, 26, who was third at the Boston Marathon in April.
The men’s race promises to be a battle of the Kenyans with defending champion Abel Kirui – who was fourth in this year’s London Marathon - taking on course record holder Dennis Kimetto.
American hopes will be pinned on 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Galen Rupp while the man who finished one place ahead of him in Rio, Feyisa Lilesa (Ethiopia) will also be in marathon action for the first time since finishing 12th in the London Marathon in April.
Kirui is the only one of the contenders who has points on the Abbott World Marathon Majors Series XI leaderboard with the four he picked up with his fourth place in London.
Marcel Hug, the current leader in the men’s wheelchair category of the Abbott World Marathon Majors Series XI, will be looking to add another major marathon victory to his impressive CV.
Swiss superstar Hug, who won the BMW Berlin Marathon just two weeks ago, will have competition from Ernst Van Dyk (South Africa), Josh Cassidy (Canada) and Kurt Fearnley (Australia).
The leader in the Abbott World Marathon Majors Series XI women’s wheelchair standings will also be on the Start Line in Chicago.
Manuela Schar, who has won both the Virgin Money London Marathon and BMW Berlin Marathon this year, will be up against home favourite and seven-time Chicago Marathon champion Tatyana McFadden.
Abbott World Marathon Majors Series XI began at the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon and ends at the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon.