Chicago Marathon Will See Kenyans Defending Titles, Traffic Gridlock Around Windy City

If the results of today’s Chicago Marathon look similar when all is said and done, do not be surprised. Last year’s winners are favored to be finishing in the top places again this year, according to online reports.

A feature in the Saudi Gazette says Kenyan runners Chumba Dickson and Florence Kiplagat are eyeing victory in the Chicago Marathon, while a past winner – 2012 winner Tsegaye Kebede – is also eyeing a victory in the race around the windy city.

“Chumba pulled away in the final three miles to lead a Kenyan sweep of the podium last year in 2hr 09min 25sec, with Sammy Kitwara second and Sammy Ndungu third.

“It was the slowest time in Chicago since 2007 after organizers opted not to use pace-setters.”

Another competitor is also eyeing a Chicago Marathon victory and that person is Stephen Sambu, a Kenyan who could give his countrymen a literal run for their money.

According to reporting by, Sambu ran for the University of Arizona in college and is a real threat in the Chicago Marathon.

Chicago Marathon Will See Kenyans Defending Titles, Traffic Gridlock Around Windy City
Chumba Dickson of Kenya won the Mens 2015 Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 11, 2015. He's a favorite to win this year, as well. [Image by David Banks/Getty Images]

“I decided because I’ve done a lot of half-marathons, like New York,” Sambu told Competitor, noting his New York City Half Marathon win in March. “I did New York, I don’t know, four or five times. I was like, this is enough. I just need to try the full one.”

The site notes Sambu will have stiff competition in his run time from other notable Kenyans who have run the Chicago Marathon, “including a 2:05:50 by Evans Rutto in 2003 and a 2:06:54 by Ondoro Osoro in 1998. Both marks were world debut records at the time.”

As for how Sambu plans to compete against his fellow countrymen and thousands of others to be victorious at the Chicago Marathon? He told Competitor that he had cut back on other races in order to prepare for the Chicago Marathon and by doing so, he expected to be competitive.

“He only ran one summer road race, the New Balance Falmouth Road Race last August, which he won easily by a 25-second margin over USA Olympian Leonard Korir. He has stayed home in Arizona grinding out the miles under his longtime coach, James Li. The training was challenging, he said, leaving his legs more tired than ever before.”

With Sambu, Dickson, Kiplagat, and thousands of others running the Chicago Marathon, local ABC affiliate WSL Channel 7 reports that roads across Chicago are gridlocked today and causing traffic nightmares for local commuters out and about on this Sunday (October 9).

Chicago Marathon Will See Kenyans Defending Titles, Traffic Gridlock Around Windy City
The Chicago Marathon contributes more than $250 million to the local economy, according to WLS Radio. [Image by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images]

“Eventually a total of 39 streets throughout the city will shut down along with some expressway exit ramps as over a million spectators cheer on thousands of runners just after 7 a.m. Sunday,” the television station reported.

In addition to the dozens of street closures for the race, more than 40,000 runners are slated to fill the closed streets throughout the day and the television station reports an additional 1 million people will be fanned out across the city to watch the Chicago Marathon and participate in the festivities in the Loop and elsewhere across Chicago.

With the large influx of visitors this weekend, city officials have urged Chicago marathon spectators and others across the city to use Chicago Transit Authority busses and trains to commute across the city instead of using automobiles. In fact, Channel 7 reports that additional trains and busses will be available to commuters this weekend in order to make up for both the large number of road closures and the influx of visitors.

This year’s running of the Chicago Marathon is its 39th. WLS Radio reports an economic impact of more than $250 million is expected as a result of the race.

[Featured Image by David Banks/Getty Images]