Many other big names also slated to run their first marathon in The Big Apple this November.
By David Monti
(c) 2010 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.
The reigning world half marathon champion and world 25K record holder, Mary Keitany of Kenya, will make her marathon debut at the ING New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 7, the New York Road Runners announced today. Keitany was just one of eight professional athletes the Road Runners revealed would take part in the 41st edition of the world’s largest marathon.
Keitany, 28, who is coached by Italian Gabriele Nicola in Iten, has developed over the last four seasons into the world’s most dominant female half marathon runner. In 2007 Keitany set what was then the Kenyan half marathon record of 1:06:48 while winning the silver medal at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Udine, Italy. She took maternity leave in 2008, but was back in top form by the fall of 2009 when she took the gold medal at the same championships in Birmingham, England, in a sizzling 1:06:36, a championships and Kenyan record. Last May, she shattered the world 25K record in Berlin, running 1:19:53.
“It will be my debut at the marathon distance and I have no idea how my body will react in the last miles,” Keitany said through a media release. “But, I’m confident for the new challenge in front of me.”
Women making their marathon debuts in New York have often run well, and several have been victorious, including Norway’s Grete Waitz (1978), Scotland’s Liz McColgan (1991) and Kenya’s Tegla Loroupe (1994).
“The curtain goes up for another blossoming star here in New York,” said New York Road Runners’ president and CEO Mary Wittenberg in a prepared statement. “Great things are expected of Mary at the marathon distance, and we’re excited to see her begin to deliver on that promise this year.”
Wittenberg also announced three other athletes who will make their marathon debuts in New York: the husband and wife team of Gebre Gebremariam and Werknesh Kidane of Ethiopia, and Peter Kamais of Kenya. Both Gebremariam and Kidane have won IAAF World Cross Country Championships (Gebremariam in 2009 and Kidane in 2003), and both have been in excellent form this year. Gebremariam has won four major USA road races (Healthy Kidney 10K, Peachtree 10K, TD Bank Beach to Beacon 10K, and the CIGNA Falmouth Road Race), while Kidane won the Bupa Great Manchester 10K last May in a personal best 31:19 and finished third at the NYRR New York Mini 10K last June. Kamais won the NYC Half Marathon last March in a personal best 59:53.
Also announced were two of Kenya’s best marathon men: the 2009 IAAF World Marathon Champion Abel Kirui, and the #3-ranked athlete in the World Marathon Majors, Emmanuel Mutai. Kirui has a 2:05:05 personal best and Mutai has run 2:06:15. New Zealand marathon record holder Kim Smith will also run the women’s race (2:25:21 personal best), and Wittenberg said that Japan’s Arata Fujiwara would compete in the men’s race (2:08:40 PB).
These runners will face previously announced athletes who include Americans Deena Kastor, Shalane Flanagan, Meb Keflezighi and Dathan Ritzenhein; Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie, and Briton Mara Yamauchi.
The ING New York City Marathon boasts an $800,000 prize money purse ($130,000 for the male and female winners), which includes a special $150,000 purse for American women who will be contesting the USA Marathon Championship this year. The race recorded 43,660 finishers last year, making it the largest marathon in history.