CHICAGO, IL 2008 Olympic Marathon gold medalist Sammy Wanjiru (KEN) announced he will make his first U.S. appearance at the 2009 Bank of America Chicago Marathon in an attempt to better his current personal marathon record (2:05:10). With two sub-2:06 marathons to his credit and the benefits of Chicago’s sleek course, the 22-year-old Kenyan’s goals are within reach.
“My plan for the fall is to lower my personal record and the Bank of America Chicago Marathon course offers the best opportunity for me to achieve that this year,” said Wanjiru from Kenya. “My only focus between now and October is to prepare and train aggressively for my best performance yet.”
Wanjiru has quickly made a name for himself in the world of distance running, first capturing the half marathon world record in 2005, lowering it in 2007 and winning three of the four marathons in which he has competed.
His Olympic gold medal performance last summer in Beijing was the first ever for a Kenyan athlete in the marathon and marked his first World Marathon Majors (WMM) victory. This spring, he captured a second consecutive WMM win with his fastest time yet at the 2009 London Marathon (2:05:10).
“Sammy is certainly the athlete to watch in this sport right now and we are honored to be able to host him at such a pivotal point in his career,” said Carey Pinkowski, Executive Race Director for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.
“We have had the pleasure of witnessing four previous world records in Chicago and if conditions are right, the enthusiastic sports fans in this city could have the opportunity to see that again.”
Challenging Wanjiru for the title will be 2008 Bank of America Chicago Marathon champion Evans Cheruiyot (KEN) and 2007 champion Patrick Ivuti (KEN). Cheruiyot, 27, has competed in only three marathons including his WMM debut in Chicago last fall.
He broke the tape in a personal best 2:06:25, an impressive feat considering the unseasonably warm weather.