“The field coming into this marathon is going to make the race fast and extremely tough. We will have a deep field of elite athletes who are experienced record holders and Paralympic gold medallists.
The Bank of America Chicago Marathon have announced that Paralympic gold medallist, defending champion Tatyana McFadden will headline a star-studded wheelchair athlete field at the 36th annual race on 13 October.
McFadden is vying for her third Chicago title in a row and fourth in the last five years. Since winning her first marathon at the 2009 race, the 23-year-old athlete has rapidly ascended to the highest levels of the sport.
“Tatyana arrived at the 2009 Bank of America Chicago Marathon having never competed in a marathon and she won in a thrilling sprint finish. She’s never looked back,” said Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski.
“We’re proud of our relationship with the University of Illinois racing team and continually impressed by their performances on what has become their home course. Several athletes, like Tatyana, have gotten their start here and gone on to win all over the world.”
After accumulating bronze and silver medals at the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games, McFadden struck gold at the London 2012 Games, winning the 400m, 800m and 1,500m races. This summer, she became the first woman to win six gold medals at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France, sweeping the board of 100m -5,000m T54 races. In April, she won the Boston and Virgin London marathons within the same week. With victories at the Chicago and ING New York City marathons this autumn, she could become the first racer to win four world marathon majors within the same year. For her groundbreaking accomplishments, McFadden was a 2013 ESPY Award finalist, and is a Women’s Sports Foundation’s 2013 Sportswoman of the Year nominee.
“I am very excited to run the Chicago marathon,” said Tatyana McFadden. “The field coming into this marathon is going to make the race fast and extremely tough. We will have a deep field of elite athletes who are experienced record holders and Paralympic gold medallists. This year’s race will be exciting to watch and I am looking forward to being a part of it again this year.”
Challenging McFadden will be her University of Illinois teammate and fellow three-time Chicago marathon champion Amanda McGrory, as well as Shirley Reilly, the 2012 Paralympic Games marathon gold medallist and 2012 Boston marathon winner. The Americans will face stiff competition from Australia’s Christie Dawes, runner-up at the 2011 Chicago marathon and bronze medallist in the 5,000m T54 at the London Paralympics; Canada’s Diane Roy, the 2009 runner-up and 2011 third-place Chicago finisher; and Switzerland’s Manuela Schaer, the 2013 IPC World Athletics Championships marathon gold medallist.
The men’s race will feature a showdown of the last three Chicago marathon champions.
Canada’s Josh Cassidy, Australia’s Kurt Fearnley and Switzerland’s Heinz Frei. Defending champion Cassidy owns the world’s fastest marathon time with his 1:18.25 victory at the 2012 Boston marathon. Fearnley is Chicago’s most decorated male wheelchair champion with four titles, including three in a row from 2007 to 2009. He is also a three-time Paralympic Games gold medallist and past winner of the London and New York City marathons. Frei is the Chicago course record-holder from his 2010 victory in 1:26.56. He was runner-up to Fearnley in 2011 and is a three-time London marathon champion.
The competition also includes two other former Chicago champions - three-time winner Joshua George and 2002 champion Adam Bleakney, both of the University of Illinois racing team.
Bleakney is head coach of the University of Illinois wheelchair athlete program and was runner-up to Cassidy last year.
South Africa’s Ernst Van Dyke returns after a fourth-place showing in 2010. He’s the most decorated athlete in Boston marathon history with nine victories in a 10-year span from 2001 to 2010.
The 2013 Bank of America Chicago Marathon will take place on 13 October 2013.