Chicago Marathon: 45,000 runners take to the streets Sunday..

Rain cleared up by the 7:30 a.m. start, which should only help produce fast times on the flat 26.2-mile course through Chicago’s neighborhoods for the Chicago Marathon. The return of pacers in the first half should also contribute to speedy times.

The men’s field include three former champions and 11 racers who have registered times faster than 2:08.

The only dropout announced marathon morning was Andrew Bumbalough, from Oregon, who finished fifth in the Boston Marathon in April.



When 45,000 runners line up Sunday for the Chicago Marathon, there will be several elite athletes to monitor through the 26.2 miles.

The men’s field promises to churn out a blistering pace — as long as the weather holds — with Galen Rupp attempting to defend his title and possibly break the American record from 2002 of 2 hours, 5 minutes, 38 seconds. He’ll face stiff talent with many runners who have clocked times faster than 2:06.

On the women’s side, American women like Laura Thweatt, Sarah Crouch, Taylor Ward, Katie Matthews and Gwen Jorgensen (a champion triathlete new to the marathon) offer tough competition after last year’s surprise Jordan Hasay dropped out with injury.

Two-time champion Florence Kiplagat is back after dropping out of last year’s race with a thigh injury. She spent six months recuperating from an infection after an insect bite, she said.

Keep an eye on legendary runner Joan Benoit Samuelson, 61, who won the 1984 Olympics gold medal and Chicago in 1985. She is going for the age group (60-64) world record of 3:01:30.

Eight-time wheelchair winner Tatyana McFadden, an Illinois grad, is out to defend last year’s victory (1:39:15). Two-time defending men’s wheelchair champion Marcel Hug (1:29:23) is also back.