By David Rogers. BLOWING ROCK, N.C. — Three High Country professional athletes are in the Windy City this weekend to compete in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. For ZAP Endurance team members Andrew Colley, Tristin Van Ord and Annmarie Tuxbury, this 26.2 mile adventure around the streets of Chicago will be their final marathon before the U.S. Olympic Trials in Orlando, Fla., on Feb. 3, 2024.
WATCH ZAP ENDURANCE ‘BUILD UP TO CHICAGO MARATHON’ VIDEO AT BOTTOM OF THIS ARTICLE
This will be the 45th running of the Chicago Marathon, a popular event that usually draws some of the world’s top marathoners. The 2023 edition is no exception as, in the men’s division, the already announced professional field includes Ethiopia’s Kinde Atanaw, whose personal best of 2:03:51 was run in Valencia, Spain, in 2019.
At least three other elite U.S. runners will be competing for the podium in Chicago, including Leonard Korir (2:07:56, Amsterdam, 2019), Daniel Mesfun (2:10:06, Toronto, 2018), and Sam Chelanga (2:15:02, Chicago, 2017).
Chicago Marathon organizers also have their eye on Jordan Gusman, of Malta, making his marathon debut but an accomplished, sub 4-minute miler who ran a 1:03:41 half marathon in Houston this past January.
The women’s elite field also includes some formidable competitors in Megertu Alemu of Ethiopia (2:18:32, London, 2022), Rose Harvey of Great Britain (2:17:20, Seville, 2022), and Emiline Delanis of France (2:32:36, Chicago, 2022).
The Blowing Rock-based ZAP Endurance runners will be right in the mix of things.
Among other goals, Colley aims to better the ZAP Endurance club record he shares with teammate Josh Izewski of 2:11:26, a mark he established in April at the Rotterdam Marathon.
“2023 has brought a level of training consistency that Andrew hasn’t seen in years,” ZAP Endurance head coach Pete Rea told High Country Sports. “It has resulted in the best racing performances of his career. He helped Team USA to a No. 6 team finish this past February in the World Cross Country Championships held in New South Wales, Australia. He had runner-up finishes in the U.S. Cross Country Championship and the U.S. 8km Road Racing Championship. We are excited to see what he can do in Chicago.”
Van Ord is the former Appalachian State cross country and track star who joined ZAP four years ago to help in her transition to marathon running.
“Tristin has also enjoyed a breakout 2023,” said Rea. “She kicked off the year at the Houston Marathon where she finished No. 4 in a personal best of 2:27:07. She has made consistent progress throughout her marathon career, running 2:32 in 2021, 2:29 in 2022 and 2:27 so far this year. In addition to her marathon best, Tristin has run personal bests at 5k and 10k this year, and most recently posted a career-best No. 4 at the U.S. 20k Championships on Labor Day.”
Tuxbury is finishing her first year anniversary as a member of the ZAP Endurance team, making significant gains.
“Tristin’s teammate and training partner, Annmarie will be taking aim at her 2:31:29 personal best set last December at the California International Marathon. She has put together the best buildup of her career. After battling some fatigue early in the training block, she has looked fantastic over the final month of training leading into Chicago.”
In the last few days, another ZAP athlete and Rea have decided to use the Chicago Marathon for multiple purposes.
“In addition to the three athletes racing, Ryan Ford will line up for ‘pacing duty’,” reported Rea. “He will be charged with pacing the group, aiming to run 1:04:00 through halfway.
“On Oct. 1, Ryan was scheduled to run the Twin Cities 10 Miler, but the race was cancelled just two hours prior to the start because of heat concerns. So running the first half of Chicago will serve as a good replacement opportunity for him ahead of the Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon at the end of October. In Indianapolis, he will be aiming for the 1:03:00 Olympic Trials qualifying standard that would allow him to enter the U.S. Olympic Trials for the Marathon, on Feb. 3 in Orlando.”
In his stellar collegiate career, Ford was a middle distance specialist in 3,000 meters to 10,000 meter distances, but is now transitioning to the marathon under ZAP Endurance’s mentorship.
The Chicago Marathon race begins at 7:30 a.m. Central/8:30 a.m. Eastern on Sunday, Oct. 8.