U.S. Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein Returns to His Midwest Roots for the 2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon
Decision to Run Chicago Made on the Heels of Qualifying for Third Olympic Team
Posted Tuesday, 26 June, 2012
CHICAGO - The Bank of America Chicago Marathon today announced that U.S. Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein will set his sights on the October 7 race after he represents Team USA in the 10,000 meters at the Olympic Games on August 4. The 35th edition of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon will mark Ritzenhein's first time toeing the line in Chicago and will be a unique opportunity for him to perform in a world-class competition less than 200 miles from his 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. "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."
Last Friday, he punched his ticket to his third Olympics with a third place finish in the 10,000 meters at the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials in Eugene, Oregon. Previously, he qualified for the 10,000 meters at the 2004 Athens Games and the marathon at the 2008 Beijing Games, where he was the top American finisher in ninth place.
The 2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon will be Ritzenhein's first marathon since placing fourth at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in January in a personal best 2:09:55, leaving him one spot shy of making the U.S. squad. His return to the track and focus on the Olympic 10,000 meters will serve him well on Chicago's flat and fast course.
"The Bank of America Chicago Marathon was built for a guy like Dathan," said Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski. "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."
After a high school career that included numerous state and national titles, Ritzenhein burst onto the world scene by winning a bronze medal at the 2001 IAAF World Junior Cross Country Championships, becoming only the second American to do so. Success continued in college at the University of Colorado, winning the 2003 NCAA Cross Country title. Currently based in Portland, Ore., and coached by Alberto Salazar, he had his best year as a professional in 2009, when he placed sixth in the 10,000 meters at the IAAF World Track & Field Championships in a personal best 27:22.28, set a then-American record of 12:56.27 in the 5,000 meters, and captured the bronze medal at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in a personal best 1:00:00.
About the 2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon
Celebrating its 35th year and a member of the World Marathon Majors, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon annually attracts 45,000 participants, including a world-class elite runner and wheelchair field, and an estimated 1.7 million spectators. As a result of its national and international draw, each year, the iconic race assists in raising millions of dollars for a variety of charitable causes while generating $170 million in economic impact to its host city according to a report by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (R.E.A.L.). The 2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon will start and finish in Chicago's Grant Park beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, October 7. In advance of the race, a two-day Health & Fitness Expo will be held at McCormick Place Convention Center on Friday, October 5, and Saturday, October 6.