Olympic Hopefuls To Run NYRR Dash To The Finish

Dathan Ritzenhein can use the disappointment of injury.

Olympians Deena Kastor and Dathan Ritzenhein leads the charge.

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

Dathan Ritzenhein returns to racing November 5 in New York City. Photo: PhotoRun.net

NEW YORK — Following a course from the United Nations to the famed ING New York City Marathon finish line in Central Park, nearly three dozen Olympic team hopefuls will run the inaugural NYRR Dash to the Finish Line on Saturday, November 5, New York Road Runners officials announced here Wednesday.

The Dash, which will also allow thousands of everyday runners to run through the ING New York City Marathon finish line, will give American track stars and marathon runners training for January’s Olympic Marathon Trials to compete in New York during the city’s marathon weekend without running the ING New York City Marathon itself.

“The Dash to the Finish Line is just one more way for everyone to get involved in marathon weekend,” said NYRR president and CEO Mary Wittenberg through a statement yesterday.

Leading the charge in the Dash will be Olympians Deena Kastor, the 2004 Olympic Marathon bronze medalist, and Dathan Ritzenhein, the 2008 Olympic Marathon Trials runner-up.  Both are in the midst of training for the Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston on January 14, 2012.

“I’m excited to be a part of the inaugural NYRR Dash to the Finish Line,” Kastor, 38, said through a prepared statement. “This race is one more reason to get excited about ING New York City Marathon weekend.  As I continue my focus and training for the Olympic Trials marathon in January, this race will certainly be a ‘dash’ for me, but it’s another way to enjoy marathon week in New York City.”

For Ritzenhein, 28, of Beaverton, Ore., the Dash will be his first race in a year.  The 2009 IAAF World Half-Marathon Championships bronze medalist had surgery on his left ankle and right foot last March, and has had a slow recovery, including an unexpected infection of the surgical wound on his ankle which required extensive treatment.  Training regularly again, “Ritz” is excited to pull on his racing flats again.

“This is a great first step for me to making the 2012 Olympic team and putting the past year behind me,” Ritzenhein said through a news release.  “After a full year off from racing, I can’t think of a better place to make my return.  I’ve had great comebacks in New York in the past and can’t wait to do it again.”

Wittenberg also announced that the following top athletes would compete:

. Molly Huddle – 2011 USA 5000m champion
. Magdalena Lewy Boulet – 2008 USA Olympian in the marathon
. Matt Tegenkamp – 2009 USA 5000m champion
. Sally Kipyego (KEN) – 2011 World Championships 10,000m silver medalist
. Lopez Lomong – 2009/2010 USA 1500m champion
. Ben True – 2011 USA 5-K and 10-K road running champion

Registration information for the NYRR Dash to the Finish Line is open at http://www.nyrr.org/races/2011/dash/index.asp.

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