Roster Of Champions Join NYC Marathon Field

Photo: PhotoRun.net

More big names join an already-stacked field.

From: NYRR Media

Photo: nyrrmedia.org

It’s a day for the ING New York City Marathon to celebrate champions: Martin Lel, Emmanuel Mutai, Jaouad Gharib, and Jo Pavey have all joined the field for the 2011 race, New York Road Runners president and CEO Mary Wittenberg announced yesterday.

All four, along with Mexico’s Juan Luis Barrios, will compete Sunday in the BUPA Great North Run half-marathon in Newcastle, England, a key test on their road to New York. Lel, 33, is a two-time winner of the ING New York City Marathon, in 2003 and 2007.

This will mark his return to New York for the first time since that 2007 victory, which was preceded by a win in Newcastle and followed by a Track & Field News ranking as #1 marathoner in the world that year. Lel, of Kenya, is also a three-time winner of the Virgin London Marathon, and was fifth at the the 2008 Olympic Games.

Mutai, 27, finished second at the ING New York City Marathon last year to Gebre Gebremariam, who will also be back. That podium finish turned out to be a warm-up to the Virgin London Marathon this April, where the Kenyan destroyed the course record in winning by over a minute and running the fourth-fastest marathon ever on a certified course when he posted a time of 2:04:40. (See the accompanying “5 Things You Should Know About Me” for more on Mutai.)

Gharib, 38, of Morocco, is a two-time world champion, in 2003 and 2005, and is the reigning Olympic silver medalist; Barrios, 28, was a 5000-meter finalist at the 2008 Olympic Games and has earned two gold medals at the Central American & Caribbean Games, at 1500 meters and 5000 meters. This will be only his second marathon. It will be only the second marathon for Pavey, the 2011 BUPA London 10,000 champion, as well. Although this will be Pavey’s ING New York City Marathon debut, she has been no stranger to the city in 2011. In March, the 38-year-old from Great Britain finished sixth at the NYC Half (1:09:33) and in June was seventh at the NYRR New York Mini 10K (32:46).

“I’m really excited to be coming back to New York to race for the third time this year, and to be finally toeing the line in Staten Island,” said Pavey, who met the qualifying standard for the 2012 Olympic Games in London with her 2:28:24 debut at the Virgin London Marathon this spring. “No marathon career would be complete without competing in the ING New York City Marathon, and it’s great that my second marathon will be in a race that has such a tremendous history.”

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