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Chicago Marathon 2023: will Ruth Chepngetich conquer a third win?

Defending champion Ruth Chepngetich will square off against London marathon champ and track superstar Sifan Hassan

ruth chepngetich Photo by: Kevin Morris

On Sunday morning a deep field of elite athletes will tackle the Chicago marathon, one of the Abbott World Marathon Majors and famous for the records set on its flat, fast course. Ruth Chepngetich will be hunting down a third win on Sunday (she was first in the last two editions of the race), but this year’s race features some strong competition. Chepngetich has a personal best of 2:14:18, set in Chicago last year, making her the third-fastest marathoner of all time.

Ruth Chepngetich
Photo: Kevin Morris

Chepngetich will be facing distance legend Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands. The Olympic gold medallist in both the 5,000m and the 10,000m made her debut at the 2023 London Marathon, where she managed to pull off a win in 2:18:33, despite stopping to stretch and having challenges with her fuelling. “I will see how my body responds and how my mind handles it,” Hassan said about tackling Chicago. “The good thing is that I have experience from London, so I’m looking forward to seeing what Chicago can teach me this time.

Hassan has had a long season and is coming off two medals in the 1,500m and 5,000m at the 2023 World Athletics Championships, five weeks ago. “After Budapest, I felt great,” said Hassan. “So it’s easy to push yourself in workouts coming from track speed.”

She also told the media at Friday’s pre-race press conference that she chose Chicago for its fast course, but she says she is still unaware of her full potential. “This is just the beginning for me. I still haven’t done a full marathon build.”

Hassan is not the only one who may pose a threat to Chepngetich. The women’s elite field features eight runners with personal bests of under 2:20. Kenya’s Joyciline Jepkosgei is taking on Chicago for the first time, boasting two major marathon wins: she won New York City Marathon in 2018 and London in 2021.

Jepkosgei is also the former world record holder in the half-marathon (1:04:52 at the 2017 Prague Half Marathon) and was the first woman ever to break 65 minutes in the half-marathon distance.

Joyciline Jepkosgei
Joyciline Jepkosgei

Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba made her marathon debut in Amsterdam last year, running 2:18:05. The 32-year-old holds the indoor world records for the mile, 3,000m and 5,000m. Will her speed on the track translate to a marathon win on Sunday? Fans are eager to see what track phenoms Hassan and Dibaba can pull off on Chicago’s speedy course.

Americans chase down Olympic qualifying times

A stacked field of American elites will be lining up on Sunday, many with hopes of making the Olympic team. With the U.S. Olympic trials being held in February of 2024 in Orlando, runners are eager to test their speed on Chicago’s fast course, and to nab a qualifying time (2:26:50).

Emily Sisson took down the American marathon record last year in Chicago and ran to second place in 2:18:29. Sisson is also the former American half-marathon record holder (Keira D’Amato bested Sisson’s time of 1:06:52 by 15 seconds at the Gold Coast Half Marathon).

Sisson will toe the line alongside other accomplished American distance runners, including fan favourite Molly Seidel. The 2018 Boston Marathon champion Des Linden will also be racing; the 40-year-old holds the women’s world record in the 50K distance (2:59:54).

Twelve-time all-American Emma Bates will also be taking on Chicago on Sunday, and hoping to challenge Sisson for a top-10 finish. Bates ran to fourth place in 2018 and was second in 2021.

For our men’s elite preview, click here.

How to watch

The 2023 Chicago Marathon will be streamed on FloTrack, beginning at 8:30 a.m. E.T. Sunday; you can sign up for a FloTrack account here.

The live results of the Chicago Marathon will be available on the Chicago Marathon app. For results post-race, head here.

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