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Olympian, Michigan Native Dathan Ritzenhein To Run In Bank Of America Chicago Marathon

CHICAGO (CBS) -- U.S. Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein will be racing in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon this fall after he returns from the London Olympics, the Marathon announced Tuesday.

Ritzenhein, of the western Michigan town of Rockford, will be running in the Chicago Marathon for the first time. He is enthusiastic about running in a world-class race less than 200 miles from the town where he grew up.

"I am extremely excited to return to the Midwest to run the 2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon," Ritzenhein said in a news release. "Growing up just across Lake Michigan, everyone in western Michigan set their sights on fast times at Chicago and hopefully I can do the same. Coming off a healthy year of great training, I plan to carry the momentum from the Olympic Games and the track season to a great race on October 7. I feel stronger than ever and I can't wait test myself on the streets of Chicago."

This past Friday, Ritzenhein qualified for the Olympics with a third-place finish in the 10,000 meter race at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Ore. He also ran in the 10,000 meters in the 2004 Olympics in Athens, and the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

He will represent Team USA in the 10,000 meters in London on Aug. 4.

The 2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon will be the first marathon for Ritzenhein since he made a personal best of 2:09:55 to place fourth at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in January. He was just one spot short of making it for the U.S. Olympic Marathon squad.

Marathon organizers say Ritzenhein's focus on the 10,000 meters will serve him well on the flat streets of Chicago.

"The Bank of America Chicago Marathon was built for a guy like Dathan," Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski said in the release. "It's a track-like course and he runs with great rhythm and speed. What's even more exciting is that he's a hugely successful athlete who grew up just a short drive from Chicago in Michigan. He'll have a lot of supporters lining the course cheering for him on race day, especially with so many of our participants hailing from the Midwest."

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