At the Chicago Marathon on Sunday, Emilie Sisson is making a comeback, nearly three years after the disappointment of the Olympic trials. Conner Mantz made one of the most anticipated American men’s debuts in the 26.2-mile race.
It’s not the norm, but an American will be one of the star runners in the men’s and women’s elite races at a major marathon. Peacock airs live coverage at 8 a.m. ET.
Sisson, 30, is starting her first mass marathon since dropping out of the Olympic trials on Feb. 29, 2020, her legs “destroyed” on the hilly Atlanta course where she started as arguably the favorite. She ran the New York Virtual Marathon later in 2020, but it was solo (and not in New York). His 2:38:00 is not recorded in his official results on his World Athletics bio.
Sisson has since won the 10,000m at the Olympic track trials and was the top American in Tokyo in 10th place. She returned to the roads, winning national titles in the 15k and half marathon and breaking the American record in the latter.
Sisson broke into the elite group of American female marathoners in 2019, when she clocked the second-fastest marathon in American history, a 2:23:08 on a windy day in London, where the pace initial was slow.
At the time, it was the 12th best American performance of all time. Over the past two years, Keira D’Amato37, and Sara Room, 39, combined to run seven marathons faster. At Chicago, a flat course that produced a world record three years ago, Sisson can answer it and maybe come close to D’Amato’s American record of 2:19:12.
“I hope less than 2h20”, coach Ray Treacy said, according to LetsRun.com. “With the [super] shoes and the training behind it, I think it’s [worth] at least three minutes.
Sisson is less likely to challenge for victory on Sunday given the Kenyan’s presence Ruth Chepngetitch, the 2019 world champion and defending champion in the Windy City. The 28-year-old mum is the fifth fastest woman in history with a personal best of 2:17:08. And Ethiopian Ruti Agaa podium in Berlin, New York and Tokyo with a best time of 2:18:34, despite having completed a marathon since the pandemic (a seventh place).
Like Sisson, Mantz has shown solid recent road racing form. The first U.S. men’s marathon record of 2:07:56 (Leonard Korir) is on the line. If he can break that, Mantz will be among the five fastest American marathoners in history.
Rarely has an American long-distance runner as accomplished as Mantz entered the marathon at such a young age (25). At BYU, he won NCAA cross-country titles in 2020 and 2021 and placed fifth at the Olympic 10,000m trials, then turned pro and won the U.S. half marathon championships last December. .
“If all goes as planned, I think the sub-2:08 is realistic,” Mantz said in a Citius Mag video interview last month. “If everything goes perfectly that day, I think a sub-2:07 is a big goal.”
The men’s field doesn’t have the singular power of Chepngetich, but a large group of East Africans with personal bests around 2:05. Most Notable: Defending Champion Seifu Toura from Ethiopia and winner of the 2021 Boston Marathon Benson Kipruto from Kenya.
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