Limo receives nodJon Neill, Bloomsday elite athlete coordinator, said 2014 women’s elite champion Mary Wacera recently had to scratch from the field. But Neill said he expects the race to be Cynthia Limo’s to lose in her first time competing at Bloomsday. The 25-year-old Kenyan “has been on an absolute tear on the road circuit,” Neill said. She’s already run a 31:08 for a 10K split as part of a half marathon, the fourth-fastest time for a 10K in the world. She also last week won the Hy-Vee half marathon in Des Moines, Iowa. “Plan for her to bolt early,” Neill said of Limo. “But in the last seven years, no competitor knows this race better than Lineth Chepkurui.” The 27-year-old Kenyan finished second last year after winning Bloomsday three consecutive times starting in 2008, including setting the course record in 2010 at 38:10. “Expect (Chepkurui) to chase Limo on Sunday,” Neill said.
Superior fieldsReturning champion Josh George, 31, of Champaign, Illinois, recently added the title of world champion after winning last week’s men’s wheelchair division of the London Marathon. But he’ll face former champions Scott Parson, 55, of San Jose, California, Aaron Gordian and Aaron Pike, who has multiple second-place finishes at Bloomsday. “We have a very exciting field,” wheelchair race coordinator Bob Murphy said. “Bloomsday is one of the first races to really make something special of these athletes coming to town.” Current and former athletes from the University of Illinois make up about a third of the field, Murphy said. That includes returning women’s champion Susannah Scaroni, 23, who lives in Urbana, Illinois, but grew up in Tekoa. Scaroni said Illinois attracts the best wheelchair athletes for a reason. “When we go to practice, we get to compete against 20 of the world’s best wheelchair athletes every day,” she said. Scaroni recently finished third in the Boston Marathon and finished in fifth place last week in London. “I’m very excited,” Scaroni said. “I’m definitely getting over some jet lag, but I’ll be OK.” Murphy said Scaroni will get a challenge from 26-year-old Tatyana McFadden, of Champaign, Illinois. McFadden is halfway through her third rotation as champion of the Boston, New York, London and Chicago marathons. “She’s hands down the best female wheelchair competitor in the world,” Murphy said. “This will be an amazing field.”
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