Rita Jeptoo of Kenya after winning the 2013 Chicago Marathon (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News Chicago, USA

Rita Jeptoo will defend her title at the 2014 Chicago Marathon

Rita Jeptoo will defend her title at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Sunday 12 October, organisers for the IAAF Gold Label Road Race announced on Wednesday (25).

Kenya's Jeptoo ran her first career sub-2:20 marathon in Chicago last year with a time of 2:19:57, the fastest women's marathon time of 2013.

Continuing strong, she opened her 2014 marathon campaign in Boston back in April with 2:18:57, smashing the course record by almost two minutes and setting a personal best. Jeptoo arrives in Chicago with the potential to rewrite the record books by becoming just the third woman in history to run three sub-2:20 marathons.

The running world has not witnessed this feat in more than a decade since former Chicago champions and world record-holders Catherine Ndereba, of Kenya, and Great Britain’s Paula Radcliffe traded course and world records in London and Chicago. Jeptoo's Chicago history includes her 2012 stride-for-stride sprint finish down Columbus Avenue, only succumbing to Ethiopia’s Atsede Baysa by a step, and running 2:22:04 to Baysa's 2:22:03.

The Kenyan redeemed herself by winning the 2013 Boston Marathon the following April and returned to Chicago last autumn with renewed strength and determination.

With her electrifying speed, she emerged as the first Kenyan to take home a Chicago victory since Ndereba in 2001.

Jeptoo currently stands atop the World Marathon Majors leader board, coming off an impressive performance in Boston where she came home in front of one of the best women's fields ever assembled in that race's illustrious history.

Organisers for the IAAF