Lel, dos Santos Returning To NYC Marathon

Tulu to defend her crown on November 7; Cheruiyot, Goumri, Kwambai, Petrova also returning.

From: Running USA

Three-time London and two-time ING New York City Marathon champion Martin Lel will go head-to-head against Marilson Gomes dos Santos, also a two-time victor, at the ING New York City Marathon 2010 on Sunday, November 7, it was announced by New York Road Runners president and CEO and race director Mary Wittenberg.

Defending champion and double Olympic gold medalist Derartu Tulu hopes to continue her success in New York when she toes the line on November 7.

Four-time Boston Marathon champion Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot and two-time NYC runner-up Abderrahim Goumri will join Lel, dos Santos, previously announced marathon world record holder Haile Gebreselassie, and defending champion Meb Keflezighi in the men’s division. On the women’s side, 2000 New York City Marathon winner Ludmila Petrova will race against Tulu, as well as U.S. Olympic medalist Shalane Flanagan in her marathon debut, Mara Yamauchi of Great Britain, and reigning world half marathon champion Mary Keitany of Kenya.

Any repeat winner of the ING New York City Marathon earns a $200,000 first place prize, the largest first place road racing prize within the United States or the World Marathon Majors.

“It’s so inspiring to see many of our past champions coming back to the stage where they once were victorious,” said Wittenberg. “They have been an inspiration to runners and spectators from around the world.”

Lel, 31, of Kenya, is one of the winningest athletes at the marathon distance. A two-time champion of the ING New York City Marathon (2003, 2007), Lel is also a three-time champion of the London Marathon, where he set his marathon personal record in 2008 of 2 hours, 5 minutes, 15 seconds. Lel came in fifth at the 2008 Beijing Olympic men’s marathon. In 2010, he won the Rock ‘n’ Roll Mardi Gras Half Marathon in New Orleans.

Dos Santos, 33, of Brazil, is the only South American champion of the ING New York City Marathon; he won in 2006 and 2008. Dos Santos holds numerous South American records, including the 5,000 meters (13:19.43), 10,000 meters (27:28.12) and half marathon (59:33).

Tulu, 38, of Ethiopia, has been on the running scene for many years, dating back to her first of four Olympics in 1992, when she won gold in the 10,000 meters and became the first black African woman to win Olympic gold in any event. Tulu also competed in the 1996, 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games and won another 10,000 meter gold in 2000. In 2009, Tulu was victorious at the ING New York City Marathon in a time of 2:28:52.

Other top contenders in the ING New York City Marathon:
* Cheruiyot, 32, of Kenya, is a four-time champion of the Boston Marathon, with his most recent victory coming in 2008. He also won the 2006 Chicago Marathon. Cheruiyot finished runner-up in the ING New York City Marathon 2009 to Keflezighi in 2:09:56.
* Goumri, 34, of Morocco, is a two-time Olympian who finished 20th in the marathon in Beijing. Goumri finished second at the ING New York City Marathon 2008. He also finished third at the 2010 ING Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon in mid-September.
* Hendrick Ramaala, 38, of South Africa, is a two-time Olympian (2000 and 2004) and two-time World Championships medalist in the half-marathon. Ramaala won the ING New York City Marathon 2004, and finished second to Paul Tergat in 2005 in one of the closest finishes in marathon history. The same year, he won the Mumbai Marathon.
* James Kwambai, 27, of Kenya, is the third fastest man in history at the marathon distance, after finishing second at the 2009 Rotterdam Marathon in 2:04:27. He finished fifth in the ING New York City Marathon 2007.
* Petrova, 41, became the first Russian to win the ING New York City Marathon when she triumphed in 2000. Twice an Olympian, Petrova finished eighth in the marathon at the 2004 Athens Games. Petrova placed second in the ING New York City Marathon in both 2008 and 2009.

Paige Higgins of the United States has been forced to withdraw from the race with a foot injury. “I can’t express in words how disappointed I am,” Higgins told NYRR officials in an e-mail message. “I don’t know why this happened, and I still can’t even believe that this is the reality of my situation.”

The premier event of New York Road Runners, the ING New York City Marathon is one of the world’s great road races, drawing nearly 105,000 applicants. The race attracts many world class professional athletes, not only for the more than $600,000 in prize money, but also for the chance to excel in the media capital of the world before two million cheering spectators and a worldwide broadcast reach of 330 million. As any one of the more than 830,000 past participants will attest, crossing the finish line in Central Park is one of the great thrills of a lifetime.

For more information, visit: www.INGnycmarathon.org

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