Bairu, Nelson Will Run NYC Marathon

Oregon Track Club teammates set to make their 26.2-mile debuts.

Written by: David Monti
(c) 2010 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

A big group of North American athletes will be competing at the 2010 ING New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 7, organizers announced on Wednesday, and at least one of those athletes has a chance to break one of the sport’s longest standing records.

Back in 1975, Canadian Jerome Drayton won the Fukuoka Marathon for the second of three times, clocking 2:10:09.  Nearly 35 years later, no Canadian has run faster.  Peter Butler ran 2:10:56 at the California International Marathon in Sacramento, Calif., in 1985, and is the only other Canadian to break 2:11:00.

That could all change in New York this year when Simon Bairu makes his marathon debut.  Bairu, 27, is already the Canadian record holder at 10,000 meters; he ran 27:23.63 at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational last May.  Bairu, who ran a half marathon personal best of 1:02:47 at the P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Half Marathon last January (finishing ahead of Ryan Hall), has been preparing with Oregon Track Club teammates Tim Nelson and Shalane Flanagan for New York at high altitude in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., under the watchful eye of coach Jerry Schumacher.  He and Nelson are well matched: Nelson has run 27:31.56 and 1:02:11.  Both athletes will test their fitness at the ING Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon on September 19.

In addition to Bairu and Nelson, race director Mary Wittenberg, president and CEO of the New York Road Runners, also announced that the following athletes would compete.  The American women will be competing for the national marathon title and a special $150,000 prize money purse:

MEN

  • Antonio Vega, 26, St. Paul, Minn., 2:13:47 PB (2010 USA half-marathon champion)

WOMEN

  • Madai Perez, 30, Mexico City, Mexico, 2:22:59 NR (Mexican marathon record holder)
  • Blake Russell, 35, Marina, Calif., 2:29:10 (2008 Olympian)
  • Linda Somers Smith, 49, Arroyo Grande, Calif., 2:30:06 (1996 Olympian)
  • Paige Higgins, 28, Flagstaff, Ariz., 2:33:06 (2008 USA 25K champion)
  • Sally Meyerhoff, 26, Maricopa, Ariz., 2:35:49 (2009 USA 25K champion)
  • Katie McGregor, 33, St. Louis Park, Minn., 2:31:14 (2010 USA 15K champion)
  • Mary Akor, 33, Hawthorne, Calif., 2:33:50 (2009 Grandma’s Marathon champion)
  • Serena Burla, 28, Ellisville, Mo., debut (2010 USA Half Marathon Championships runner-up)

All of the athletes announced yesterday, with the exception of McGregor, will be running their first ever ING New York City Marathons.  Blake Russell summed it up this way: “The ING New York City Marathon was the first marathon I watched on television, over 10 years ago, and is what planted the marathon seed in my head,” Russell said through a media release. “It will be my first marathon since the Olympics and since having a baby, and I could not think of a more exciting or more prestigious event for my return.”

The ING New York City Marathon is the world’s largest marathon.  Last year’s event recorded a world record 43,660 finishers.  The 2010 edition of the race boasts an $800,000 prize money purse, and a special $200,000 first place prize for repeat winners.

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