Back in the 1980s, the late Fred Lebow, impressario for the NYC Marathon and Bob Bright, Race Director for the Chicago Marathon used to battle with each other in the media over who had the best marathon. It kept the newspapers, and RW and The Runner magazine full of stories on both of the marathons. Lebow and Bright were great promoters.
Today is quite different. In the fall, though. While there is some competition between NYC and Chicago, each marathon seems to have found its niche, and in 2017, each story had great stories. At the 2017 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, Galen Rupp became the first American to win the Chicago Marathon since 2002 (Khalid Khannouchi), and before that, the victory of American Greg Meyer in 1982 (Joan Benoit Samuelson won in 1985).
Galen Rupp and Mo Farah will battle over the 26.2 miles of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 7, 2018. Galen Rupp won his first Marathon in February 2016 at the US Olympic Trials. His second marathon was the Rio Olympics, where he took a bronze medal. In his third marathon, a bit short on final preparation, Galen Rupp took second in the Boston Marathon in April 2017. His first run at the Chicago Marathon, resulted in a win in the Windy City in October 2017. Galen used that 10,000m speed and broke the race open with 8 kilometers to go, and ran to victory. Galen Rupp dropped out of the Boston Marathon in April 2018, and in May 2018, Rupp won the Prague Marathon in 2:06:07 PB.
Mo Farah ran his first marathon in 2014, at the London Marathon, where he finished sixth, in 2:08:36. Mo Farah, now focused on the marathon, spent 2010-2017 focused on 5000m-10,000m. Farah ran his second marathon (he ran a first half in 2013 of the London Marathon) in London 2018. His third place finish at the London Marathon, was a gutty performance in hot weather. Mo Farah ran a PB of 2:06:22, also an NR.
Now, two of the sports most popular athletes will compete against each other in Chicago. Rupp and Farah race very differently, which should provide some real excitement. Chicago has not had a race like this in decades. Rupp and Farah are former training partners, who have complementary temperaments. For Rupp, a long drive home, a move with which he is very comfortable, could be his choice. For Mo, as long as he can stay with Galen, he can try and Outkick Galen.
Who will do what? We will just have to wait and see. And that race, should be fun to observe.