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Registration for Chicago Marathon opens Tuesday

Updated: March 20, 2013 6:42AM

Dathan Ritzenhein did ``a little workout’’ of running 14 miles Monday morning, then did ``a little jog’’ of three to five miles to kick off registration festivities for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

Registration for the 36th Chicago Marathon ( opens at noon Tuesday.

``This works out great for me,’’ Ritzenhein said. ``I usually do two runs a day. These are the fun stuff. I don’t have to race.’’

He, along with Nike pace team leaders, led about 200 runners on a looped run using the Riverwalk and lakefront. Those runners were able to do an early registration. Ritzenhein had the first bib with his nickname ``Ritz.’’

Nick and Geri Bensen of Oak Park, who work the aid station in Little Italy, ran Monday. In fact, they did a little warm-up of several miles on the lakefront beforehand. They do running and travel vacations around Europe.

``That running path on the lakefront is the best place in the world to run,’’ Nick Bensen said.

The Chicago Marathon uses an open registration (most major marathons use a lottery or qualifiers) and fills increasingly quickly. In 2010, registration filled in 51 days, 31 days in 2011 and six days last year.

``I think we will fill faster than in in 2012,’’ executive race director Carey Pinkowski said. ``We’’ll see [Tuesday]. The first couple hours will tell.’’

He hopes they can keep the open registration going.

Last year there were record 37,455 finishers and a men’s course record of 2 hours, 4 minutes, 38 seconds by Tsegaye Kebede.

Ritzenhein hopes to push the leader, following a similar strategy as last year when he concentrated on track, then did a nine-week training for the marathon after the Olympics. This year will be a similar nine-week training after the World Championships.

``American distance running is so good now,’’ Ritzenhein said. ``Seven or eight years ago, it wasn’t very good and I felt the mantle on my shoulders. Now I am riding high of being a good marathoner, but the young guys are chomping at the bit.’’

Last year, Ritzenhein concentrated on running his race and finished with his personal record of 2:07:47.

``I can’t believe I ran a 2:07 and finished ninth,’’ he said.

His goal this year is the overall race.

``Shoot for the podium this time,’’ he said.

A native-born American hasn’t run with the lead pack in three decades.

``Bio-mechanically, he has great core track strength,’’ said Pinkowski, who thinks a healthy Ritzenhein could run with the lead pack. ``He has just scratched the surface.’’

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