News22 Jun 2023

Chepngetich, Hassan and Sisson in Chicago Marathon clash


Emily Sisson, Ruth Chepngetich and Sifan Hassan (© AFP / Getty Images)

Ruth Chepngetich returns to defend her title at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, a World Athletics Platinum Label road race, and will face a field that features London Marathon winner Sifan Hassan and US record-holder Emily Sisson.

Chepngetich won last year’s race in 2:14:18 – just 14 seconds shy of the world record and the second-fastest women’s marathon performance of all time.

Kenya’s 2019 world champion will be back in Chicago on the hunt for her third consecutive victory on 8 October, following her inaugural win in the US city in 2021, when she ran 2:22:31. In 2023, she hopes to run her fastest time yet.

“I am planning to defend my title and improve my time,” said Chepngetich. “There's no better race in the world than the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.”

To do so, she will have to defeat double Olympic gold medallist Hassan of the Netherlands. Hassan made her marathon debut in London in April when, despite stopping to stretch twice, she closed a 25-second gap on the leaders to win and set a national record of 2:18:33. Hassan plans to compete on the track at the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23, less than six weeks before returning to the roads to race in Chicago.

“At the moment, my focus is on the World Championships in Budapest, so my marathon preparation will be very short, but as most people know, I like to be challenged,” said Hassan. “I will see how my body responds and how my mind handles it. The good thing is that I have the experience from London so I'm looking forward to Chicago, to see what the marathon can teach me this time.”

Unlike Hassan, Sisson will skip the track season to focus on getting ready for Chicago. Last year’s runner-up, Sisson finished in 2:18:29, demolishing the US record by 43 seconds. Sisson, who also holds the US record in the half marathon, said the deep field improves her chances of running even faster this year.

“Chicago is where I set the American marathon record last year,” said Sisson. “I am really looking forward to coming back for another great race in October.”

Legendary matchups have long made for thrilling finishes in Chicago. In 1985, a gruelling duel between Olympic champion Joan Benoit Samuelson and then world record-holder Ingrid Kristiansen saw Benoit Samuelson outlast her Norwegian competitor and set a US record. In 2002, British world champion Paula Radcliffe defeated Kenya’s Catherine “The Great” Ndbera and shattered Ndbera’s world record in the process. And in 2017, three-time Olympic gold medallist Tirunesh Dibaba took down rising star and future world record-holder Brigid Kosgei.

Chepngetich and Hassan have clashed once before, in the 2018 Copenhagen Half Marathon where Hassan broke the European record with 1:05:15 in what was her first serious attempt at the distance and Chepngetich finished fifth in 1:07:02. The sole clash between Chepngetich and Sisson so far came at last year’s Chicago Marathon, while Hassan and Sisson have raced each other on four occasions, in the 5000m and 10,000m, with the record so far 4-0 in Hassan’s favour.

Organisers for World Athletics