Chicago Marathon 2013: Top Contenders to Watch in Elite Race
The Chicago Marathon has been one of the world's most prestigious races since its advent in 1977, and many of the best marathoners around will be competing for an opportunity to join an elite group of winners when the competition takes place on Sunday.
At a distance of 26 miles and 385 yards, the Chicago Marathon is a test of wills that isn't for everyone. According to ChicagoMarathon.com, more than a half million runners have competed in the event over the past 35 years, and thousands more will become part of the race's history this weekend.
The winner of the men's event is generally considered to be the best distance runner in the world, and there is no shortage of candidates this year. Here is a closer look at three men who could potentially break the tape first.
As winner of the 2011 Chicago Marathon, Kenya's Moses Mosop is the odds-on favorite to do it again this year. The 28-year-old distance runner has a ton of accolades to his credit, but his past success on the Chicago course is the most important among them. He also finished second in the 2011 Boston Marathon and captured a bronze medal in the 10,000-meter run at the 2005 world championships, so it's easy to see why Mosop is expected to prevail.
Mosop hasn't been at full health since his Chicago Marathon win in 2011, but his injury woes are largely behind him. According to Run Blog Run, Mosop is feeling good and eyeing the course record in addition to an outright victory.
Moses Mosop" my shape is 95 percent. course record is my main (goal), #chicagomarathon— RunBlogRun (@RunBlogRun) October 11, 2013
Mosop finished with a time of two hours, five minutes and 37 seconds when he won two years ago, but Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia set the mark at two hours, four minutes and 38 seconds last year. It won't be easy, but Mosop is a candidate to set a new record if he can shave a minute off his 2011 time.
While Dathan Ritzenhein is considered a longshot to win the 2013 Chicago Marathon at best, he is certainly the best American hope to make a run. No American man has won the race since Khalid Khannouchi in 2002, although he was a naturalized Moroccan. An American-born man hasn't won the Chicago Marathon since Greg Meyer in 1982.
Coincidentally, both Meyer and Ritzenhein are from Grand Rapids, Mich., so perhaps an intangible synergy of some kind will help Ritzenhein on Sunday. Whatever the case, Ritzenhein seems confident that he is well prepared for the challenge that lays ahead.
Dathan Ritzenhein, " I trained well, had great season in shorter distances, and two months of marathon training"#chicagomarathon— RunBlogRun (@RunBlogRun) October 11, 2013
According to RunnersWorld.com, Ritzenhein's personal best marathon time is two hours, seven minutes and 47 seconds, which he set in Chicago last year. A new personal best is a definite possibility, and he may even be able to challenge Khannouchi's American record if he has the race of his life.
It seems as though a few dark horses find a way to make some noise in the Chicago Marathon each and every year. There are a few runners who could potentially play that role this year, but Kenya's Micah Kogo is chief among them. His track record is quite impressive, and Run Blog Run has chosen Kogo as its main spoiler.
RunblogRun spoiler for Chicago is Micah Kogo, #chicagomarathon— RunBlogRun (@RunBlogRun) October 12, 2013
Which runner is most likely to win the 2013 Chicago Marathon?
Kogo doesn't have a ton of experience when it comes to marathon running, but he finished second in this year's Boston Marathon, and he has excelled at other distances as well. The most notable accomplishment on Kogo's resume is a bronze medal win in the 10,000-meter race at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Running a marathon is much different, but he has what it takes to compete with the best in the world.
Recent history is also on Kogo's side as 10 of the past 12 Chicago Marathon winners have hailed from Kenya. Kogo will have to contend with a number of skilled countrymen in order to prevail, however, he certainly figures to be in the mix. If Kogo can translate his success in Boston to Chicago, he has a real chance to be a winner.
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