World’s Top Professional Wheelchair Athletes Compete This Fall in 2015 Chicago-New York Challenge in Preview of New Abbott World Marathon Majors Series

Defending Bank of America Chicago Marathon Champions Tatyana McFadden and Josh George to Lead Field Vying for $20,000 Challenge Prize Purse

Wednesday, August 5, 2015 6:00 am EDT

The world’s top professional wheelchair athletes will go head-to-head in the first Chicago-New York Challenge; it was announced today by Carey Pinkowski, executive race director of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon and Peter Ciaccia, president of events for New York Road Runners and race director of the TCS New York City Marathon.

Defending Bank of America Chicago Marathon champions Tatyana McFadden and Josh George will headline a deep professional field competing in the challenge, which will serve as a prelude to the inaugural Abbott World Marathon Majors Wheelchair Series beginning with the Boston Marathon in April 2016. A $10,000 winner-take-all prize will be awarded to the male and female with the most points earned in the 2015 Bank of American Chicago Marathon on Sunday, October 11 and the 2015 TCS New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 1.

"On October 11, some of the world’s fastest athletes will race on the streets of Chicago," said Pinkowski. "The world-class competition in this field will make the Chicago-New York Challenge an exciting competition to watch.”

Last year’s top finishers and those returning to the 2015 Bank of America Chicago Marathon race include Kurt Fearnley (AUS), Ernst Van Dyk (RSA), Amanda McGrory (USA) and Manuela Schar (SUI), and reigning champions Josh George (USA) and Tatyana McFadden (USA).

McFadden, 26, of Clarksville, Md., became the first and only athlete to win four of the world’s major marathons in the same calendar year (2013), also known as a “Grand Slam,” winning titles at Boston, London, Chicago, and New York. She repeated this feat in 2014 and is on pace for a hat trick in 2015, winning the Boston and Virgin Money London Marathon titles this spring. McFadden also earned a silver medal at the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Winter Games in the one-kilometer sitting cross-country ski race. She owns 10 Paralympic Summer Games medals (three gold, four silver, three bronze), and has won a record six gold medals at the 2013 IPC World Championships. This year, she set world records in the 400-, 800-, 1,500-, and 5,000-meters and won the prestigious Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability Award.

“The Bank of America Chicago Marathon and the TCS New York City Marathon are two of my favorite races, so to be part of the new Chicago-New York Challenge is very exciting,” said McFadden, winner of 10 straight Abbott World Marathon Majors races. “The challenge is a great way to kick off next year’s Abbott World Marathon Majors Wheelchair Series and showcase all the great athletes in our sport.”

George, 31, of Champaign, Ill., is a four-time Chicago Marathon winner (2003, 2004, 2006, 2014) and the reigning champion of the London Marathon, which served as the IPC World Championships. He earned bronze at the 2012 Paralympic Games in the 800-meters and improved to a gold medal at the 2013 IPC World Championships in the same distance. Before his 25th birthday, the three-time Paralympian set the 100-, 400-, and 800-meter world records; he recently improved upon his 800-meter world record earlier this summer.

Joining George and McFadden in Chicago is fellow University of Illinois teammate Amanda McGrory, three-time Chicago Marathon champion. George, McFadden, and McGrory are all under the coaching of University of Illinois’ Adam Bleakney, 2002 Chicago Marathon champion.

Van Dyk, 42, will return to the Chicago Marathon as the 2013 champion. Fearnley, 34, will represent Australia as a four-time Chicago Marathon champion, and nine-time Paralympian medalist. Schar, 30, will make another podium attempt after finishing in second and third place at the 2013 and 2014 Chicago Marathons.

Fearnley will compete against George and McFadden in the Chicago-New York Challenge, with additional challenge participants being announced at a later date.

Only athletes competing in both races are eligible to score points and receive prize money in the Chicago-New York Challenge. Points will be awarded to the top-five finishers at each race, and the cumulative scores from each event will be ranked to find the top man and woman. In the event of a tie, the money will be divided equally. Points will be allocated as follows:

                                   
1st place     2nd place       3rd place       4th place       5th place
25 points     16 points       9 points       4 points       1 point
                     

For more information, go to chicagomarathon.com.

About the Bank of America Chicago Marathon
In its 38th year, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon welcomes thousands of runners 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 runners. The race’s iconic course takes runners through 29 vibrant neighborhoods on an architectural and cultural tour of Chicago. In 2014, an estimated 1.7 million spectators lined the streets cheering on a record, 40,659 runners from the start line to the final stretch down Columbus Drive. As a result of the race’s national and international draw, the Chicago Marathon assists in raising millions of dollars for a variety of charitable causes while generating $253 million in annual economic impact to its host city. The 2015 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, a member of the Abbott World Marathon Majors, will start and finish in Grant Park beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, October 11. In advance of the race, a two-day Abbott Health & Fitness Expo will be held at McCormick Place Convention Center on Friday, October 9, and Saturday, October 10. For more information about the event and how to get involved, go to chicagomarathon.com.

Visit the Bank of America newsroom for more Bank of America news.

chicagomarathon.com

CONTACT:

Reporters May Contact:
Alex Sawyer, Bank of America Chicago Marathon, 1.312.992.6618
alex.sawyer@bankofamerica.com
Diane Wagner, Bank of America, 1.312.992.2370
diane.wagner@bankofamerica.com