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Matt Tegenkamp plans to keep it real in marathon debut

Matt Tegenkamp reacts after finishing men's 10000m finals U.S. Olympic Track Field Trials Friday June 22 2012 Eugene Ore. Galen

Matt Tegenkamp reacts after finishing the men's 10,000m finals at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials Friday, June 22, 2012, in Eugene, Ore. Galen Rupp finished first, Tegenkamp second and Ritzenhein third. The three will represent the U.S. in the London Olympics. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

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Who: 45,000 marathoners registered; nearly 40,000 will run in front of a crowd predicted to be 1.7 million.

When: Elite runners begin at 7:30 a.m. Sunday. Race officially ends six and a half hours after the last runner crosses the start, roughly 3 p.m.

Course: 26.2 miles winding through 29 neighborhoods, beginning at Monroe and Columbus and continuing as far north as Addison, as far west as ­Damen and as far south as 35th, finishing in Grant Park at Columbus.

Television/radio: Ch. 5, 670-AM

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Updated: October 12, 2013 8:42PM

Matt Tegenkamp tracks reasonable goals for his debut at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

He is the latest favorite Midwestern son to make his marathon debut in Chicago. The elite field for the 36th Chicago Marathon begins at 7:30 a.m. Sunday.

Tegenkamp will be just in time for a men’s field that could challenge the course record. But he will not be in the lead pack pushing for the course record.

“I would be crazy to think I would knock it out of the park the first time,’’ he said Friday.

At least in planning, he seems to have the right idea. He plans to go out conservatively — “64 [minutes] on the high end, 65 on the low’’ — for the half-marathon distance.

“That would put me in a better position to push it in the second half,’’ he said.

And put him right on target for a goal of 2:10 or better.

Tegenkamp was raised near Kansas City, then schooled at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Like another favorite Midwestern son, Dathan Ritzenhein, Tegenkamp comes out of a track background, which he believes will help Sunday. Tegenkamp twice has represented the United States in the Olympics, competing in the 5,0000 meters in the 2008 Beijing Games and in the 10,000 in 2012 in London.

More help could come from a weather forecast for 40s when the elites start.

The 26.2-mile course winds through 29 neighborhoods, beginning at Monroe and Columbus, going as far north as Addison, as far west as Damen, as far south as 35th, and finishing in Grant Park on Columbus.

Tegenkamp said that the forecast would “allow the competitiveness and drive the athletes have to come out.’’

Ah, competitiveness. Will the men just chase the course record — the 2:04:38 set by Ethiopian Tsegaye Kebede last year — or push the world record.

The pace of the rabbits leading the elite men will be decided by a “democratic process,’’ executive race director Carey Pinkowski said, after “talking with athletes, managers and coaches.’’

There were whispers of going off at a 61:45 pace. That would put the world record within reach. Kenyan Wilson Kipsang set that standard (2:03:23) on Sept. 29 in Berlin.

“I don’t know about that, that would be over my head,’’ Ritzenhein said. “But I think I can run faster than I did in 2012.’’

He ran his personal best (2:07:47) last year in Chicago.

Kenya’s Moses Mosop is back with aims of taking back the course record run by Kebede last year. Mosop set the previous course record (2:05:37) the year before.

“I am 95 percent,’’ Mosop said. “Yes, it is in my mind.’’

That 95-percent comment is funny because he claimed to be only 85 percent in 2011 when he ran away from the field.

The women’s race will be notable for the return of Ethiopia’s Atsede Baysa and Kenya’s Rita Jeptoo, who ran the closest finish in race history (a one-second victory in 2:22:03 by Baysa) last year. Japan’s Yukiko Akaba, making her Chicago debut, is another to watch.

The wheelchair field is its biggest ever, nearly double last year, and maybe the strongest overall.

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