Defending TCS New York City Marathon champions Tatyana McFadden and Kurt Fearnley will lead the field vying for the $20,000 Challenge prize purse at the 2015 Bank of America Chicago Marathon and 2015 TCS New York City Marathon.

The world’s top professional wheelchair athletes will go head- to-head in the first-ever Chicago-New York Challenge, it was announced by Peter Ciaccia, president of events for New York Road Runners and race director of the TCS New York City Marathon, and Carey Pinkowski, race director of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

Defending TCS New York City Marathon champions Tatyana McFadden and Kurt Fearnley will headline a deep professional field competing in the Challenge, which will serve as a prelude to the inaugural Abbott World Marathon Majors Wheelchair Series beginning with the Boston Marathon in April 2016. A $10,000 winner-take-all prize will be awarded to the male and female with the most points earned in the 2015 Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Sunday, Oct. 11 and the 2015 TCS New York City Marathon on Sunday, Nov. 1.

 “New York Road Runners is very proud to pair with the Bank of America Chicago Marathon for the Chicago-New York Challenge and welcome back Tatyana and Kurt to defend their titles at the TCS New York City Marathon,” said Ciaccia. “The Chicago-New York Challenge will be a great transition into next year’s inaugural Abbott World Marathon Majors Wheelchair Series, and we look forward to showcasing these incredible athletes and continuing to promote and provide opportunities for all athletes with disabilities at our events.”

 McFadden, 26, of Clarksville, Md, became the first and only athlete to win four of the world’s major marathons in the same calendar year (2013), also known as a “Grand Slam,” winning titles at Boston, London, Chicago and New York City; she repeated this feat in 2014 and is on pace for a hat trick in 2015, winning the Boston and Virgin Money London Marathon titles this spring. McFadden also earned a silver medal at the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Winter Games in the one-kilometer sitting cross-country ski race. She owns 10 Paralympic Summer Games medals (three gold, four silver, three bronze) and has won a record six gold medals at the 2013 IPC World Championships. This year, she set world records in the 400, 800, 1500 and 5000 meters and won the prestigious Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability Award.

“The Bank of America Chicago Marathon and the TCS New York City Marathon are two of my favorite races, so to be part of the new Chicago-New York Challenge is very exciting,” said McFadden, the winner of 10 straight Abbott World Marathon Majors races. “The Challenge is a great way to kick off next year’s Abbott World Marathon Majors Wheelchair Series and showcase all the great athletes in our sport.”

Fearnley, 30, of Australia, is the defending TCS New York City Marathon champion. He won four consecutive New York City Marathon titles between 2006–2009, the most in history by a male wheelchair athlete. In his first victory, he set the current course record of 1:29:22. The two-time Paralympic Marathon gold medalist has won marathons in London, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seoul, Rome, Paris, Sydney and Port Elizabeth and at the World Championships.

Also competing in the Chicago-New York Challenge will be defending Bank of America Chicago Marathon champion Josh George of Champaign, Ill. Additional Chicago-New York Challenge participants will be announced at a later date, along with the full TCS New York City Marathon professional wheelchair field.

Only athletes competing in both races are eligible to score points and receive prize money in the Chicago-New York Challenge. Points will be awarded to the top five finishers at each race, and the cumulative scores from each event will be ranked to find the top man and woman. In the event of a tie, the money will be divided equally. Points will be allocated as follows:

1st place = 25 points

2nd place =16 points

3rd place = 9 points

4th place = 4 points

5th place = 1 point