Galen Rupp and Sara Hall Headline 43rd Annual Bank of America Chicago Marathon Elite Field
The Bank of America Chicago Marathon announced today that two-time Olympic medalist Galen Rupp and America’s second fastest female marathon runner ever, Sara Hall, will be at the helm of this year’s elite field, a year that marks a global comeback for the road racing industry. Rupp stands out as one of the most decorated runners on the track and in the marathon, winning the 2016 and 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon trials and the 2017 Chicago Marathon; he is a five-time U.S. record holder, and eight-time U.S. 10,000 meter champion. Hall, a seven-time Olympic trials qualifier with ten national titles from the mile to the marathon, to her name, hopes to rewrite history by breaking the American marathon record, 2:19:36, set in 2006 by Deena Kastor.
“We are thrilled to welcome Galen and Sara, two of the most talented runners in U.S. history, to our start line this fall,” said Bank of America Chicago Marathon Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski. “This is a celebratory moment not only for U.S. running, but for the global running community. The resilience and determination that Galen and Sara have shown throughout their careers is the same kind of resilience and determination that lives within every runner showing up in Grant Park this fall.”
Rupp, a four-time Olympian with a bronze medal in the marathon and a silver medal in the 10,000m, will make a quick turn-around to Chicago after going for gold in Tokyo. Rupp put on a show during his first appearance in Chicago in 2017 when he became the first American male since Khalid Khannouchi to stand on top of the podium. He returned in 2018, finishing fifth in 2:06:21, the fifth fastest time in American history on a record eligible course (he also owns the third fastest time ever run, 2:06:07). Shortly after his performance in 2018, he underwent surgery to correct Haglund’s Deformity. Rupp used his 2019 and 2020 seasons to announce his comeback to the top of elite running.
On an unrelenting hilly course in Atlanta, Rupp showcased his dominance at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon trials, swiftly winning the race while making his fourth Olympic team. Since then, he has continued to run well, setting an American record for 10 miles in 2020 (en route to a half marathon victory), and running in the Olympic Trials in the 10,000m. In addition to his accolades on the track and in the marathon, he is the second fastest American ever over the half marathon distance (59:47). If Rupp breaks the tape first this fall, he will be only the seventh man in Bank of America Chicago Marathon history to claim victory twice.
“Chicago is a special city and I’m excited to be coming back after so long,” said Rupp. “I have a personal connection to the city, and the 2021 Bank of America Chicago Marathon is going to be an awesome celebration.
“My goal is winning,” Rupp continued. “I want to come back and win. 2019 left a sour taste in my mouth. I didn’t finish that race so I cannot wait to get back out there and come back stronger than ever. It has been a wild ride since then. I’m healthy, I’m happy, and it’s going to be tremendous to come back.”
Like Rupp, Hall stands out as one of the most versatile athletes in any elite field. She launched her professional career as a middle-distance specialist and steeplechaser while slowly migrating to the roads and, in 2015, to the marathon. She finished 10th in Chicago in 2015, ninth in New York in 2016, sixth in Tokyo in 2017, first in the California International Marathon in 2017 (her first U.S. title in the marathon), and third in Ottawa in 2018. But those achievements pale in comparison to what came next.
In 2020, Hall picked herself up from a disappointing DNF at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, refocused, and commenced her campaign to make history. She finished as the runner-up in 2:22:01 at the London Marathon last October (one of the only elite events in 2020), becoming the first American to finish in the top three in 14 years. Eleven weeks later - unconventional timing for a marathon runner - she competed in the Marathon Project, winning in a personal best, 2:20:32, while also inching closer to Kastor’s American record. Hall enters this year’s Chicago Marathon with a goal written on her bathroom mirror: “American Marathon record-holder.”
“I am excited to run the Bank of America Chicago Marathon again,” said Hall. “It has been too long since I’ve been back, and when I thought about where I wanted to chase the American Record, I thought it would be more exciting to do it at home, in the U.S., and Chicago is such an epic race. I’m really excited to have my best marathon yet on U.S. soil.”
American marathon record holder and 2005 Chicago Marathon champion, Deena Kastor, is eager to watch Hall chase history.
“It’s exciting to see Sara go after the American record again,” said Kastor. “Her incredible fitness and joy of running makes this an opportunity worth fighting for. Chicago is certainly a great choice to be your best, so spectators can expect to witness some exciting performances on race day.”
The 43rd annual Bank of America Chicago Marathon will take place on Sunday, October 10.
The Bank of America Chicago Marathon welcomes thousands of participants from more than 100 countries and all 50 states, including a world-class elite field, top regional and Masters runners, race veterans, debut marathoners and charity participants. The race’s iconic course takes runners through 29 vibrant neighborhoods on an architectural and cultural tour of Chicago. For more information about the event and how to get involved, go to chicagomarathon.com.
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Alex Sawyer, Bank of America Chicago Marathon
Diane Wagner, Bank of America