Rita Jeptoo has the chance to become only the third woman in history to run three sub 2:20 marathons when she takes part in the Chicago Marathon on 11 October. The feat has not been achieved since former Chicago champions and world record-holders Catherine Ndereba of Kenya, and Paula Radcliffe traded course and world records in London and Chicago, more than a decade ago.
Jeptoo ran her first career sub-2:20 marathon in Chicago last year with a time of 2:19:57, the fastest women's marathon time of 2013. Jeptoo’s Chicago history includes her 2012 stride for stride sprint finish down Columbus Avenue, succumbing to Atsede Baysa of Ethiopia by a step, running 2:22:04 to Baysa’s 2:22:03. Jeptoo redeemed herself by winning the 2013 Boston Marathon the following April and returned to Chicago last autumn with a renewed strength and determination. Jeptoo currently stands atop the World Marathon Majors leaderboard, coming off an impressive performance in Boston where she outraced one of the best women’s fields ever assembled in the race’s history.
Starting and finishing in Grant Park, the marathon goes through 29 Chicago neighbourhoods offering diverse cultures, historic buildings and residences, renowned architecture, and vibrant murals. Runners first head north through the Loop, River North, Lincoln Park and Lakeview, before going west past Greektown, the United Center and University of Illinois at Chicago, then they head south through Chinatown, Bridgeport and the South Loop.
Standard entries are now closed but you can still book your place through Sports Tours International.