Four Americans To Debut At The NYC Marathon

Lauren Fleshman is a member of the "freshman class" of NYC Marathon debutants. Photo: PhotoRun.net

Lauren Fleshman is a member of the "freshman class" of NYC Marathon debutants. Photo: PhotoRun.net

The Big Apple has traditionally been a good place for marathon debuts.

By David Monti (c) 2011 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

The New York Road Runners announced today that four Americans –Bobby Curtis, Lauren Fleshman, Ed Moran and Molly Pritz– would make their marathon debuts at the ING New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 6. Race director Mary Wittenberg dubbed this group the “Freshman Class.”

“This year’s ‘Freshman Class’ are some of the best in their respective distances, and we are very excited to see what they can do in the marathon,” Wittenberg said through a prepared statement. “New York has become an inviting and exciting place for our Americans to debut from Alberto, Deena and Meb to Kara and Shalane, and we are ready to see what Bobby, Ed, Molly, and Lauren have in store for 2011.”

Curtis, 26, the 2008 NCAA 5000m champion who ran for Villanova, is already an accomplished 10,000m runner with a 27:24.67 personal best. He said on a conference call today that he’ll be using the ING New York City Marathon, and the high-altitude training he’ll be doing in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., in the fall, to help strengthen him for next season’s track season. He said today that he hoped to make the 2012 Olympics at 10,000m; he finished fourth in that event in the USA Championships in June in Eugene, just missing the World Championships squad by one position. “I’m thrilled to be debuting at the ING New York City Marathon,” Curtis said in a written statement. He continued: “I can think of no better event than the ING New York City Marathon for an American distance runner to have the race of his or her life.”

Fleshman, 29, a two-time USA 5000m champion who competed collegiately for Stanford, also plans to use the marathon to help strengthen her for next year’s track season. Although she was named today to the USA team at 5000m for the IAAF World Championships in Daegu (she has a 5000m personal best of 14:58.48), she has yet to make an Olympic team. “I decided to make the big move up from the 5-K –skip the 10-K altogether– because my focus is on the 2012 Olympics in the 5-K,” Fleshman said in a YouTube video she recorded last Friday in London. “I’ve seen so many women in my event go up to the marathon and come back down to the 5-K stronger. They come back harder to beat than they did before.”

Moran, 30, the 2010 USA 10-K road running champion, planned his wedding for this year so he could run New York and then get married to fiancée Meg Warco shortly after the race. Moran finished fourth in the 10,000m at the 2008 Olympic Trials. “While I am mostly focused on the challenge of the marathon distance and the world-class competition that comes to the Big Apple, I’m equally excited about fulfilling my childhood dream of running across the Verrazano Bridge,” said Moran in an e-mail message. “For me, the ING New York City Marathon will be more than just a race. It is an event that I have always dreamed of competing in.”

Pritz, 23, the reigning USA 25-K champion, is the youngest member of the Freshman Class. At Bucknell University, she did not run on the track team, but rather competed as a cyclist. Pritz began road running seriously in 2009,and further developed under the Hansons Olympic Development Program last year to achieve a 1:11:05 half-marathon personal best last February. She’s always been drawn to the marathon, especially New York. “Watching the 2008 ING New York City Marathon is the reason I wanted to become a long distance runner,” Pritz said. “Ever since then I could not imagine a better place to make my marathon debut. I am excited not only to race in New York City, but am thankful to be able to have an experience of a lifetime.”

Despite its challenging course, the ING New York City Marathon has been a good place for debuts, particularly for Americans. Four of the five fastest American marathon debuts by women have occurred in New York: Kara Goucher (2:25:53), Deena Kastor (2:26:58), Marla Runyan (2:27:03) and Shalane Flanagan (2:28:40). The ING New York City Marathon is part of the World Marathon Majors series and is the world’s largest marathon. The 2010 race had a world record 44,980 finishers.

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