To help celebrate the 40th running of the Chicago Marathon, several running legends and past champions will return as race ambassadors, race officials announced Tuesday.
Steve Jones (1984, 1985), Khalid Khannouchi (1997, 1999, 2000, 2002), Catherine Ndereba (2000, 2001), Paula Radcliffe (2002) and Deena Kastor (2005) will serve as race ambassadors for the 2017 Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Oct. 8.
Jones, Khannouchi, Ndereba and Radcliffe set world records on the Chicago course. Kastor, a multi-time American record-holder, is the last American woman to win in Chicago.
All five champions will meet with runners and the community at the Health & Fitness Expo, the Chicago 5K, and other spots during race week.
"To have Steve, Khalid, Catherine, Paula and Deena returning to Chicago adds an extra layer of excitement and historic significance to race week as we look forward to celebrating 40 years of one of the greatest marathons in the world," said Carey Pinkowski, executive race director.
In 1984, Jones delivered first world record (2:08:05) in the Chicago race, which was contested in cold temperatures, a steady downpour. Khannouchi made his marathon debut in Chicago in 1997, winning in 2:07:10 to set course and North American records, while running the fourth-fastest time ever. In 1999, he set a world record (2:05:42) and became the first man to break 2:06.
In 2001, Ndereba gave Chicago its third world record by becoming the first woman to break 2:19, officially running 2:18:47. In 2002, Radcliffe broke Ndereba's world record by 89 seconds (running 2:17:18) and becoming the first woman to run under 2:18.
In 2005, Kastor narrowly won by five seconds and turned in the third-fastest time by an American.