World Record Holder and Olympic Gold Medalist Kenenisa Bekele Ready to Showcase His Speed at the 2014 Bank of America Chicago

  World Record Holder and Olympic Gold Medalist Kenenisa Bekele Ready to
  Showcase His Speed at the 2014 Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Business Wire

CHICAGO -- August 12, 2014

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon today announced that three-time Olympic
Gold medalist, 18-time World Championship medalist and current World Record
holder in the 5,000m and 10,000m, Kenenisa Bekele (ETH), will compete in his
second marathon and first World Marathon Major in Chicago on October 12. In a
career spanning nearly 15 years, Bekele, 32, has only raced on American soil –
and always on the track – five times.

In one of the most anticipated marathon debuts in history, Bekele raced into
the record books, clocking the sixth-fastest marathon debut time while setting
a new course record, 2:05:03, at the 2014 Schneider Electric Paris Marathon.
Over a challenging course with several uphill climbs, Bekele ran uncontested
from 30K to the finish.

“I am looking forward to coming back to America, and to running fast,” says
Bekele. “I have heard great things about the fans in Chicago and the course.
After my win in Paris, I understand the marathon distance a lot better and I
will bring that experience to Chicago. I know Chicago has a very fast course
and, therefore, my goal is to break the course record of 2:03:45. After that,
everything is possible.”

Throughout its storied history, the Chicago Marathon, widely recognized as one
of the fastest marathons in the world, has witnessed four World Records.
Bekele is the ideal candidate to threaten Wilson Kipsang’s 2013 World Record
set in Berlin, 2:03:23.

“Kenenisa Bekele is one of the best, most versatile and exciting athletes
competing on the global stage today,” says Bank of America Chicago Marathon
Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski. “Any time an athlete of Bekele’s
caliber lines up to race, course records and world records are in jeopardy. We
expect Bekele to put on a speed show, and it’s not out of the question to
think that Bekele could bring the World Record back home to Chicago.”

From 2003 to 2012, Bekele never lost a 10,000m that he finished (he recorded
one DNF in 2011). In 2002, he became the first man in history to win both the
long course (12K) and short course (4K) at the IAAF World Cross Country
Championships, a feat he continued for the next four years. To date, Bekele’s
12 World Cross Country titles (not including his four team wins) are more than
any other athlete in history. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, he doubled in the
5,000m and 10,000m, taking home gold in both events. Earlier that year in
Eugene, Oregon, he fell short of breaking his own World Record in the 10,000m,
but still ran the fastest time ever recorded in the U.S., finishing in 26
minutes and 25.97 seconds.

Bekele announced his most recent transition from the track and mud to the
roads by winning his debut half marathon at the 2013 Great North Run in a
sprint finish.

About the Bank of America Chicago Marathon
In its 37^th year and a member of the World Marathon Majors, the Bank of
America Chicago Marathon annually attracts 45,000 participants, including a
world-class elite runner and wheelchair athlete field, and an estimated 1.7
million spectators. As a result of its national and international draw, the
iconic race assists in raising millions of dollars for a variety of charitable
causes while generating $243 million in annual economic impact to its host
city. The 2014 Bank of America Chicago Marathon will start and finish in Grant
Park beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, October 12, 2014. In advance of the
race, a two-day Health & Fitness Expo will be held at McCormick Place
Convention Center on Friday, October 10, and Saturday, October 11. For more
information about the event and how to get involved, go to

Visit the Bank of America newsroom for more Bank of America news.



Reporters May Contact:
Alex Sawyer, Bank of America Chicago Marathon, 1.312.992.6618
Diane Wagner, Bank of America, 1.312.992.2370
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