Top Athletes Headline the 2021 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Elite Athlete Field

August 17, 2021

Event organizers release COVID-19 guidelines to create a safe racing environment for all participants

CHICAGO – The Bank of America Chicago Marathon announced today that it will host some of the world’s best elite athletes as it prepares for the 43rd running of the event. In addition to previously announced Americans Galen Rupp and Sara Hall, Getaneh Molla (ETH), Seifu Tura (ETH), Ruth Chepngetich (KEN), Keira D’Amato (USA), and Emma Bates (USA) are among the stars headlining this year’s field. Local natives Chris Derrick (USA) and Lindsay Flanagan (USA) are also among the top athletes in this year’s field. Adding to the excitement, past champions Daniel Romanchuk (USA), Marcel Hug (SWI), Tatyana McFadden (USA), and Amanda McGrory (USA) will race for the victory in the elite wheelchair competition.

“We are excited to welcome so many outstanding athletes to Grant Park this fall,” said Bank of America Chicago Marathon Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski. “While we expect to see fast times up front, we are focusing on celebrating every athlete in this year’s field – and the personal stories, challenges, and triumphs that they bring with them. This event is special in so many ways because it captures the human spirit – from the first runner across the line to the last.”

This year’s marathon coincides with the elation of an Olympic year and the thrill of a fall racing season that includes all six of the Abbott World Marathon Majors (AbbottWMM). With seven sub 2:06 men in the field vying for their first AbbottWMM victory, the stage is set for a dramatic race up front. Top athletes in the men’s elite field include two-time Olympic medalist Galen Rupp; 2019 Dubai Marathon champion with a personal best of 2:03:34, Getaneh Molla; 2018 Valencia Marathon runner-up with a personal best of 2:04:43, Hassan El Abbassi (BRN); and fourth place finisher at the 2021 Milan Marathon with a personal best of 2:04:29, Seifu Tura. The following four athletes boast 2:05 personal bests: Shifera Tamru (ETH), Joel Kimurer (KEN), Eric Kiptanui (KEN), and Laban Korir (KEN). Naperville native and 2018 USATF Half Marathon champion Chris Derrick (USA) will join five local elites from the Second City Track Club, including Dan Kremske (USA), in the elite competition.

“The 2021 Bank of America Chicago Marathon will undoubtedly be a special one,” said Kremske. “I’ve missed the excitement of Marathon Sunday and cannot wait to experience that energy again this October. I look forward to sharing in the joy of my fellow Chicagoans as we make our triumphant return to racing. My hope is that Marathon Sunday will be a celebration of one another, our great city, and the resilience of the human spirit.”

Kenyan sensation Ruth Chepngetich will make her Bank of America Chicago Marathon debut. Chepngetich made a splash when she set the world record in the half marathon this spring, breaking the tape in 1:04:02; she is also the 2019 marathon world champion, and she holds a marathon personal best of 2:17:08, making her the fourth fastest woman in history. Keira D’Amato and Emma Bates join Sara Hall as the top Americans in the field. D’Amato carries one of the most inspiring stories in the field. She took a seven-year break from running, returned to the roads in 2016, and had a breakthrough season in 2020, including a 12-minute PR in the marathon, 2:22:56, and an American record in the 10 mile. Bates, the 2018 U.S. marathon champion, comes into this year’s competition with a 2:25:27 PR, set in Chicago in 2019.

“I have never raced in the States and making my debut in such a great race like the Bank of America Chicago Marathon is more than a dream to me,” said Chepngetich. “I will give all myself trying to run as fast as possible. The presence of such a wonderful elite field will boost me.”

The elite wheelchair competition includes several athletes competing back-to-back in Chicago (Sunday, October 10) and Boston (Monday, October 11). Daniel Romanchuk, Marcel Hug, and Tatyana McFadden plan to complete the double, making for a grueling but exciting fall season of racing. McFadden stands out as the most decorated athlete in Bank of America Chicago Marathon history with eight championships. 2018 and 2019 champion, Romanchuk, and two-time champion, Hug, could propel each other to course record times if the conditions are right.

“The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is where my Abbott World Marathon Majors journey began back when I was 16 and where I won for the first time, so it’s very special to me,” said Romanchuk. “We’ve all been eagerly anticipating the return of in-person marathon racing, and I can’t wait to get back to the streets of Chicago!”

Updated COVID-19 Guidelines

The event today also shared COVID-19 guidelines to help create a safe racing environment for all 35,000 registered participants. Registered participants are required to provide proof of a complete COVID-19 vaccination series or a negative COVID-19 test result to participate in the 2021 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Registered participants who are not fully vaccinated are required to provide a negative COVID-19 test result for a test administered within 72 hours of attending the Bank of America Chicago Marathon (Sunday, October 10). The event defines “fully vaccinated” as individuals who are two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose vaccine series or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine.

Proof of vaccination (hard copy, photocopy or digital version of an immunization record) or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of attending the event is required for entrance to the Abbott Health & Fitness Expo. Individuals unable to prove full vaccination or negative test will be barred from entering the Health & Fitness Expo and unable to pick up the necessary race materials that allow for participation in the event.

This policy recognizes COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Accepted COVID-19 tests are those that have received FDA emergency use authorization (EUA) and include RT-PCR, RT-LAMP, lateral flow, and rapid antigen tests.

All attendees are required to wear face coverings while at indoor event venues, including the Abbott Health & Fitness Expo. Face coverings must be two-ply at a minimum and cover the mouth and nose securely. Single-ply neck gaiters and face shields are not acceptable face coverings.

Participants are encouraged to wear face coverings in Grant Park prior to starting the race. Additional face coverings will be available post-finish for participants.

 The 43rd running of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon will take place on Sunday, October 10.

Men’s Open Division




Getaneh Molla

2:03:34 (Dubai, 2019) ETH
Seifu Tura 2:04:29 (Milan, 2021)


Hassan El Abbassi

2:04:43 (Valencia, 2018) BRN

Shifera Tamru

2:05:18 (Dubai, 2019) ETH
Joel Kimurer 2:05:19 (Milan, 2021)


Eric Kiptanui 2:05:47 (Siena, 2021)


Laban Korir

2:05:54 (Amsterdam, 2016) KEN
Galen Rupp 2:06:07 (Prague, 2018)


Fikre Bekele

2:06:27 (Seoul, 2019) ETH
Masato Kikuchi 2:07:20 (Otsu, 2021)


Derlys Ayala

2:10:11 (Valencia, 2020) PAR
Ivan Gonzalez 2:11:07 (Valencia, 2020)


Emmanuel Roudolff-Levisse

2:11:20 (Chandler AZ, 2020) FRA
Colin Mickow 2:11:22 (Chandler AZ, 2020)


Wilkerson Given

2:11:44 (Chicago, 2019) USA
Wily Canchanya 2:12:33 (Prague, 2021)


Chris Derrick

2:12:50 (Chicago, 2017) USA
Josh Izewski 2:13:15 (Sacramento, 2018)


Mike Sayenko

2:13:34 (Chandler AZ, 2020) USA
Nico Montanez 2:14:07 (Chandler AZ, 2020)


John Tello

2:14:19 (Lima, 2021) COL
Sid Vaughn 2:14:28 (Chandler AZ, 2020)


Alan Peterson

2:14:45 (Chandler AZ, 2020) USA

Dan Kremske

2:14:53 (Chicago, 2019) USA

Brett Lustgarten

2:17:18 (Sacramento, 2018) USA

Kurt Roeser

2:17:59 (Sacramento, 2018)


Oscar Medina 2:18:45 (Chicago, 2019)


Reed Fischer 2:24:48 (Atlanta, 2020)


Clayton Young 2:29:46 (Atlanta, 2020)


Abdisamed Abdi

Debut USA
Ben Kendell Debut


Ian Lamere



Zach Panning

Debut USA
Gonzalo Parra Debut


Women’s Open Division




Ruth Chepngetich

2:17:08 (Dubai, 2019) KEN
Sara Hall 2:20:32 (Chandler AZ, 2020)


Keira D’Amato

2:22:56 (Chandler AZ, 2020) USA
Emma Bates 2:25:27 (Chicago, 2019)


Diane Nukuri

2:27:50 (London, 2015) USA
Lindsay Flanagan 2:28:08 (Chicago, 2019)


Bria Wetsch

2:29:50 (Chandler AZ, 2020) USA
Vianey DeLaRosa 2:30:04 (Valley NE, 2021)


Michelle Lee

2:30:31 (Sacramento, 2018) USA
Alia Gray 2:30:41 (Chandler AZ, 2020)


Bridget Lyons Belyeu

2:31:00 (Sacramento, 2018) USA
Daiana Ocampo 2:31:33 (Vienna, 2020)


Rosie Edwards

2:31:56 (London, 2021) GBR
Jane Bareikis 2:33:54 (Duluth, 2021)


Chirine Njeim

2:36:40 (Dorena Lake, OR, 2021) LBN
Georgia Porter 2:36:52 (Frankfurt, 2019)


Anne-Marie Blaney

Debut USA
Megan O’Neil



Olivia Pratt

Debut USA
Carrie Verdon Debut


Jessica Watychowicz



Men’s Wheelchair Division


Marcel Hug** 1:18:04 (Boston, 2017)


Josh Cassidy**

1:18:25 (Boston, 2012) CAN
Aaron Pike** 1:20:59 (Duluth MN, 2019)


Daniel Romanchuk**

1:21:36 (Boston, 2019) USA
Rafael Botello 1:22:09 (Boston, 2017)


Jordi Madera

1:22:10 (Boston, 2017) ESP
James Senbeta** 1:24:27 (Boston, 2017)


Krige Schabort

 1:26:04 (Boston, 2002) USA
Sho Watanabe** 1:26:22 (Seoul, 2017)


Brent Lakatos

 1:29:41 (Berlin, 2018) CAN
Brian Siemann 1:27:00 (Boston, 2017)


Johnboy Smith**

1:29:44 (Berlin, 2017) GBR
Gyu Dae Kim  1:30:08 (Rio, 2016)


Christian Clemmons**

1:38:08 (Duluth MN, 2019) USA
Joey Gibbs 1:39:06 (Duluth MN, 2019)


Philip Croft

 Debut USA
Isaiah Rigo  Debut


Jason Robinson



Women’s Wheelchair Division




Tatyana McFadden**

1:31:30 (Duluth MN, 2019) USA
Amanda McGrory 1:33:13 (Boston, 2017)


Jenna Fesemyer**

1:37:02 (Duluth MN, 2019) USA
Madison De Rozario  1:39:22 (Chicago, 2017)


Vanessa De Souza**

1:45:19 (Oita, 2018) BRA
Michelle Wheeler** 1:45:55 (Oita, 2018)


Yen Hoang**

2:01:06 (Boston, 2019) USA
Samantha Rhodes  Debut


**Wheelchair athletes competing in Chicago on Sunday, October 10 and Boston on Monday, October 11.

About the Bank of America Chicago Marathon

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon welcomes thousands of participants from more than 100 countries and all 50 states, including a world-class elite field, top regional and Masters runners, race veterans, debut marathoners and charity participants. The race’s iconic course takes runners through 29 vibrant neighborhoods on an architectural and cultural tour of Chicago. For more information about the event and how to get involved, go to chicagomarathon.com.

For more Bank of America news, including dividend announcements and other important information, visit the Bank of America newsroom and register for news email alerts.


Reporters may contact:

Alex Sawyer, Bank of America Chicago Marathon
Phone: 1.312.992.6618

Diane Wagner, Bank of America
Phone: 1.312.992.2370