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Elite women at Chicago: who’s still running?

Despite the loss of Hasay and Cragg, the line-up remains strong and features three women with personal bests under 2:20, and some interesting marathon debuts

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is less than a week away, and unfortunately, a few of the biggest women’s names entered in the race won’t be making it to the start line. 

Earlier this fall, American headliners Jordan Hasay and Amy Cragg both announced that they would not be racing on October 7th. Hasay dropped from the race due to an ongoing stress fracture in her heel, and Cragg due to an undisclosed setback in her race buildup. Hasay was hoping to challenge Deena Kastor’s American record. Despite the loss of Hasay and Cragg, the line-up remains strong and features three women with personal bests under 2:20, and some interesting marathon debuts. 

RELATED: Jordan Hasay pulls out of Chicago Marathon

American elites remaining in the race are two women running their marathon debuts. Gwen Jorgensen and Alexis Pappas will both run their first 42.2K in under a week. 

Chicago Marathon
Photo: Chicago Marathon.
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While Jorgensen has run a marathon before (after deciding to retire as a triathlete), this will be her first marathon since committing to professional running full-time. Jorgensen is the 2016 Olympic triathlon gold medallist. 

Pappas is a former track runner who competed at the 2016 Olympics in the 10,000m, running for Greece. She’s a Dartmouth and Oregon alumna with a creative side. The runner directed the film Tracktown with her husband Jeremy Teicher, and helped cover the 2018 winter Olympics with comedian Nick Kroll. Pappas is reportedly hoping to run the marathon at the 2020 Olympics for Greece. 

RELATED: Farah vs. Rupp: who will come out on top in Chicago?

Roza Dereje of Ethiopia has the fastest incoming women’s seed time, having run a 2:19:17 in Dubai this January. At only 21 years old, Dereje has already made a strong mark on the road running scene.

Gwen Jorgensen

The second-fastest entry is Florence Kiplagat of Kenya. Kiplagat’s personal best is from the 2011 Berlin marathon, and she hasn’t come close to it since the 2014 London marathon. The veteran’s most recent time in the event is a 2:26:25 from the 2017 London marathon. Birhane Dibaba, who comes in third, broke the 2:20 barrier at the 2018 Tokyo marathon, running 2:19:51 to take the win. Dibaba will surely challenge Dejere this weekend. 

Dayna Pidhoresky and Melanie Myrand are the only two Canadians on the Chicago elite women’s list. Pidhoresky, the Vancouver native has run several half-marathons this summer, along with a 10K. She broke the tape at the Scotiabank Vancouver half-marathon in June, running 1:13:04. Her marathon personal best is 2:36:08. Myrand of Lachine, Que. is a nurse practitioner in primary care who decided to give this running thing a chance after a breakthrough in 2016. Her personal best is 2:39:07 from the 2017 Scotiabank  Waterfront marathon in Toronto. 

In the men’s race, Sir Mo Farah and Galen Rupp are set to battle it out. They will be joined by 2016 Chicago winner Abel Kirui, 2017 Boston champion Geoffrey Kirui, 2018 Boston champion Yuki Kawauchi and the 2018 Tokyo champion Dickson Chumba. The marathon gets underway on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. EDT. Complete elite lists can be found here