The first time he ran the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, Kenyan runner Wesley Korir was not even a member of the elite field, he said.
"I went in that year in the Chicago Marathon having fun and not having any pressure to compete with the elite, and I learned a lot," Korir said during this Flotrack.org interview. "I was giving people high fives then. Now I can't give people high fives because it's serious business."
In the 2008 Chicago Marathon, Korir finished fourth in a time of 2:13.53, and he's run the race each year since. Last year, Korir, a graduate of the University of Louisville, finished second in a time of 2:06.15. Since then, he also claimed a Boston Marathon title when he crossed the finished line in a time of 2:12.40 earlier this year.
Korir is hoping to replicate his 2012 Boston Marathon success and improve on his Chicago Marathon performance of a year ago. On Oct. 7, the 29-year-old will compete in his fifth consecutive Chicago Marathon.
A lot has changed since the first time Korir ran the race, but at least one thing has remained consistent: He still loves the complete the marathon distance. In fact, after running Chicago for the first time, Korir said he couldn't wait to lace up his shoes and head out for another marathon.
"After that first Chicago Marathon, I came here and I ran that amazing race … the way I didn't feel any pain, I enjoyed it," Korir said in the interview with Flotrack.org. "I had so much fun and I didn't even notice that it was 26.2 miles. That distance went so quick.
"I remember as soon as I finished I called and I was like 'Coach, when can I do this again? When is the next one? Sign me up for the next one.'"
Since then, Korir has competed in the Los Angeles Marathon three times and the Boston Marathon once. He's won each of them at least once.
But a title in Chicago has remained elusive for the Kenyan. He's hoping this is the year that all changes. Korir will line up with some of the fastest marathoners in the world to compete in Chicago, and each man will be chasing the same thing: a Chicago Marathon win.
Read more from this author: A Healthy Dathan Ritzenhein Prepares for the Chicago Marathon
Sandra Johnson completed her first marathon in 2011. In addition, Johnson is a longtime fan of Olympic sports. While working for the United States Olympic Committee and living in the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., Johnson had the opportunity to immerse herself in the Olympic Movement. Follow her on Twitter: @SandraJohnson46
- Athletics, Track & Field
- Chicago Marathon