Runners to watch in 2018 Chicago Marathon (w/ updates)

There are a lot of great stories to follow in the 2018 Chicago Marathon. From the return of the pacers, to the inspiring stories of non-elites who are running.

And, of course, there are the elites. Here are five I’m especially interested in:

Yuki Kawauchi

The winner of the 2018 Boston Marathon is back in the U.S. this weekend to run Chicago. Kawauchi is a full-time high school administrator, and carries the nickname “citizen runner” in Japan. Chicago will be his ninth marathon of 2018.

Kawauchi commented: “I’m looking forward to running the same race where Toshinari Takaoka set the former national record and so many other great Japanese athletes have run well.”


Prior to the race, Yuki Kawauchi commented to the news media that he hoped the weather would get worse. He placed 19th, with a time of 

Joan Benoit Samuelson

Amby Burfoot recently observed that Samuelson is “quiet and understated,” and yet “she nevertheless seems to harbor an inextinguishable fire within.”

She has a lot of records to her name, most notably being the first-ever women’s Olympic marathon winner (1984), and Chicago Marathon winner (1985). At 61, she’s eyeing a World Record for her age group.


Finished with her daughter!

Runners World reported that she “fell short of this year’s goal of 3:01:30, the world record for women 60 to 64, she finished strong in 3:12:13—just behind her daughter Abby Samuelson, who crossed the line in 3:11:20.”

See: Joan Benoit Samuelson finishes Chicago Marathon, 34 years after Olympic gold” –NBC Sports

Mo Farah vs. Galen Rupp

An attractive thing about our sport is that it rarely has rivalries. When there is a head-to-head matchup, it’s usually friendly competition. 

Erin Strout at Runners World explains:

Farah and Rupp are former teammates from the Oregon Project, where Rupp still trains. Farah, a quadruple Olympic gold medalist in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters representing Great Britain, has departed the group to be coached by Gary Lough

Rupp has a lot more experience at the 26.2-mile distance with six finishes (all in the top three), one DNF (2018 Boston), and he is the defending Chicago Marathon champion.

Rupp  recently explained: “We still have a great relationship. It’s just he lives on another side of the world now than I do. So we certainly don’t talk as much as we used to…Part of [us not working out as much together toward the end] was just what the athlete wants. I’m more of a homebody, I prefer to stay at home a lot. I love being around my family. I feel that I’m a better athlete when I’m around my wife and kids than when I’m away. And so part of that was just that’s what I prefer. He likes going to altitude camps, feels that’s what’s best for him. So that’s just the way it worked out.”


Mo Farah landed his first marathon win!

See: Mo Farah wins first marathon title with dramatic victory in Chicago” –The Guardian 

Rupp finished in fifth, running a 2:06:21. According to The Oregonian:

Rupp’s left Achilles bothered him on and off during the run-up to the Oct. 7 Chicago Marathon. He said he felt fine before and during most of the race, but the Achilles began causing him some discomfort near the end of the 26.2-mile course.

Distance runner Galen Rupp undergoes foot surgery, won’t run a spring marathon” –The Oregonian

The following day, Rupp’s left was swollen and painful to walk on. Turn’s out, according to the article, “has a condition called Haglund’s Deformity, a bony bump on his heel that was causing his Achilles tendon to fray.”

It required immediate surgery, and Rupp won’t be participating in any spring marathons while he recovers. 

Laura Thweatt

The fastest American woman running Chicago,  she was the first American finisher in the London Marathon last year…  which she ran with an injury (osteitis pubis)!

According to a Runner’s World article by Sarah Lorge Butler, Thweatt’s recovery story is best described as one of  “an elite marathoner doing a couch-to-5K program.” From there, she worked back up to the marathon distance that she’ll be running in Chicago!



Share your thoughts

What are your thoughts regarding the Chicago Marathon this year? Do you have favorite stories you’re following in Chicago 2018? Let us know, in the comments section below.

Feature photo credit: Tim Trad on Unsplash


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