Chicago Marathon press release:
Khalid Khannouchi comes Home
The world's fastest marathoner to run Chicago again in 2003
Chicago (May 27, 2003) To say that Khalid Khannouchi has dominated the
streets of Chicago is an understatement. With four first-place feats,
including a record setting performance, Khannouchi's dominance is one of
the great sports stories in Chicago.
Khalid Khannouchi, 31, the fastest marathon runner in history, will return
to his home away from home to showcase his dominance in marathoning on the
streets of Chicago. Khannouchi, who is in town this week meeting with
Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski, has committed to run his sixth
LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon.
"Khalid Khannouchi is undoubtedly the greatest marathon runner of all
time," remarked Pinkowski. "His epic performances and dramatic finishes in
Chicago are some of, if not the best, moments in the history of
Khannouchi finished first in dramatic fashion last year. From the minute
the race began, Khannouchi went head to head with some of the greatest
distance runners of all time, including Paul Tergat, defending champion Ben
Kimondiu, and two-time London Marathon champion Abdelkhader El Mouaziz.
But it was Toshinari Takaoka who would provide Khannouchi with his biggest
challenge as the Japanese 10,000m champion broke out from the pack at mile
19 to take a 21 second lead at mile 23. But Khannouchi launched a
tremendous kick at mile 24 as he was set to accelerate past Takaoka.
And it seemed as though history was repeating itself. The scene to come
was all too familiar.
Khannouchi and Takaoka were running side by side, shoulder to shoulder when
Khannouchi broke away from Takaoka like a roadrunner in the middle of the
McCormick Place Tunnel. He then gracefully fell to the ground in a pool of
emotions as he crossed the finish line in 2:05:56. Tears slowly rolled
down his eyes and his voice trembled as he realized what he had just
accomplished?four first place finishes in Chicago and the only marathoner
to have three sub 2:06 performances.
"Khalid's standard of success and his repeated dominance are beyond
impressive," added Pinkowski. "I anticipate another strong performance
from him as he challenges his own world record in the 2003 LaSalle Bank
It was three years earlier in 1999 that Khalid broke away from Moses Tanui
in that same tunnel, making up a 40-second deficit to set the then world
record. It is these storybook performances that have made Khalid
Khannouchi's name synonymous with The LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon, which
has arguably become one of the best marathons in the world. The Chicago
race has seen 37,500 registrants two years in a row and a field of some of
the greatest male and female marathoners in the world including once World
Record performances by Paula Radcliffe and Catherine Ndereba.
"Over the past six years, Chicago has been a super place for many athletes
who search for fast times," stated Khannouchi when asked about his thoughts
on returning to Chicago. Khannouchi feels at home in Chicago and thrives
on the overwhelming support received from the hundreds of thousands who
line the course and cheer him on. "I feel like I am running in my own
backyard every time I race in Chicago, especially with the strong support I
receive from the people of Chicago. I'm very glad to be back once more and
to have the pleasure to hear my name once again all around the fast course
of the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon."
With Khannouchi leading the field of elite athletes thus far, the 2003
Chicago race is shaping up to have another impressive field. Top athletes
seem to always perform extremely well in Chicago because of the flat, fast
course and the depth of the elite field that creates unparalleled
competition. Chicago has built a solid reputation and has become the top
marathon in the U.S.
Khannouchi currently holds the World Record and the American Record. His
unmatched marathon success started with his 1997 debut victory in Chicago
in 2:07:10?the fastest marathon debut ever. In 1998 Khannouchi placed
second in Chicago but came back to set a then World Record of 2:05:42 at
The 1999 LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon. After becoming an American citizen
in May of 2000, Khannouchi set a then American marathon record of 2:07:01
with his third Chicago victory in the fall of 2000.
Khannouchi, who withdrew from the London Marathon this year, overcame one
of the strongest fields ever assembled to lower his own World Record in a
victory at the 2002 London Marathon with a time of 2:05:38. The dramatic
race included Khannouchi once again accelerating past two of the greatest
distance runners ever ? Paul Tergat and Haile Gebresalassie ? in the final
two miles of the race.
Khannouchi will head to Albuquerque, New Mexico to begin intense training
in preparation for the 2003 LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon. "What also
makes Khannouchi the athlete he is, is his dedication to training,
preparation, and overall health and fitness," added Pinkowski. "His
preparation, competitive spirit, and drive for greatness are what make him
one the greatest athletes in the world. I can't wait to see him perform
here once again in Chicago."
Elite athletes will compete this fall for the highest marathon purse ever,
$550,000. The male and female winners each will earn $100,000, the largest
first place payout in the sport. The 2003 LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon
begins Sunday, October 12 at 8 a.m., starting and finishing in Chicago's
Grant Park and is expected to draw up to the increased registration cap of