Dathan Ritzenhein‘s spikes are barely dry from last Friday’s rainy 10,000m at the Olympic Trials here where he finished third, yet the 29 year-old three-time Olympic team member is already setting his sights past the Olympic Games. Organizers of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon announced this morning that Ritzenhein will make his first appearance at the Chicago race on Sunday, October 7. The event takes place about 200 miles southwest of Ritzenhein’s boyhood home in Rockford, Mich.
“I am extremely excited to return to the Midwest to run the 2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon,” said Ritzenhein through a statement. “Growing up just across Lake Michigan, everyone in western Michigan set their sights on fast times at Chicago and hopefully I can do the same. Coming off a healthy year of great training, I plan to carry the momentum from the Olympic Games and the track season to a great race on October 7. I feel stronger than ever and I can’t wait test myself on the streets of Chicago.”
Ritzenhein, who stepped up to run the Olympic Games “A” standard in his 10,000m final here to lock-in his team berth, has compiled a solid record at the marathon distance. He made a painful debut at the ING New York City Marathon in 2006 running 2:14:01, but rallied in the same city a year later to finish second at the USA Olympic Marathon Trials in 2:11:07 on a hilly course in Central Park. He finished ninth in the Beijing Olympic Marathon in 2:11:59, and was the top American in that race. After that, he ran 2:10-flat in London in 2009, 2:12:33 in New York in 2010, and set his personal best of 2:09:55 at the USA Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston last January, an excellent performance given that he had been injured and out of training for most of 2011.
“The Bank of America Chicago Marathon was built for a guy like Dathan,” said Carey Pinkowski the long-time Chicago Marathon executive race director in a prepared statement. “It’s a track-like course and he runs with great rhythm and speed. What’s even more exciting is that he’s a hugely successful athlete who grew up just a short drive from Chicago in Michigan. He’ll have a lot of supporters lining the course cheering for him on race day, especially with so many of our participants hailing from the Midwest.”
The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is part of the World Marathon Majors and is the second largest marathon in the United States. Last year’s event 35,671 finishers, despite somewhat warm conditions.
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