Khalid Khannouchi returns to Chicago for four years

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    Ryan
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    Chicago (May 19, 2004) The LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon will once again be home to

    the world’s most recognizable marathoner, Khalid Khannouchi. The LaSalle Bank Chicago

    Marathon and Khannouchi have reached an agreement that will bring him to the streets of

    Chicago for the next four years.

    The four-year deal calls for Khannouchi to participate exclusively in Chicago among all fall

    marathons and will give him the opportunity to compete for the world record on a course he

    has dominated over the years.

    With four first-place finishes in Chicago, including a World Record in 1999 and an American

    Record in 2002, Khannouchi has become synonymous with the LaSalle Bank Chicago

    Marathon. His dominance and epic performances on the 26.2 mile route is one of the great

    sports stories in Chicago.

    Khannouchi withdrew from last year’s Chicago marathon due to injury. After months of

    treatment and rest, Khannouchi just finished his first phase of altitude training and feels

    better than he has in years – he is focused squarely on a top performance in Chicago.

    “I have been in intense training for the past 8 weeks and now feel that I can compete at the

    level I expect of myself for a full marathon,” stated Khannouchi. “Chicago is where I started

    my marathon career and I couldn’t think of any other place where I’d like to make my

    comeback. I have a goal in mind and I believe Chicago is just the place I need to be to

    achieve that goal.”

    Khannouchi will have tough competition the next few years as last year’s defending

    champion, Evans Rutto of Kenya, announced earlier this year that he will run Chicago the

    next two years. Khannouchi tends to perform at his best when faced with challenges and

    tough competition. The 2002 London Marathon proves just that as he overcame one of the

    strongest marathon fields ever assembled to lower his own World Record with a 2:05:38

    victory.

    The dramatic race included Khannouchi passing two of the greatest distance runners ever –

    Paul Tergat and Haile Gebreselassie – in the final two miles. Khannouchi’s London victory

    was also redemption of sorts. He finished third in the 2000 London Marathon in 2:08:36,

    missed the 2000 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials with injuries and dropped out of the 2001

    World Championships marathon due to severe foot blisters.

    Last year was much the same for Khannouchi as his injuries kept him from competing in

    Chicago and the U.S. Olympic Trials, but if history repeats itself, Khannouchi could be at his

    best ever in 2004.

    “Khalid Khannouchi is one of the most determined athletes I have ever come across,” added

    Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski. “He thrives in Chicago and he loves this city. His

    injuries are behind him and his preparation for this year’s race is going extremely well.”

    When asked when a world record might return to Chicago, Pinkowski noted it has been over

    a year since Paula Radcliffe shocked the world with her then 2:17:18 World Record and he

    responded frankly: “I fully expect that the new LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon route is

    designed to host a world record attempt on October 10 this year.”

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