American Bobby Curtis is a late entry.
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NEW YORK — Officials at the New York Road Runners announced Wednesday that they had finalized the elite field for the 7th NYC Half, scheduled for Sunday, March 18. The race, rated the most competitive half marathon in the United States last year by the independent Association of Road Racing Statisticians, boasts an invited field of 90 athletes from 21 countries.
More Olympic Games hopefuls were added to the field, the Road Runners said. These included American Bobby Curtis (1:01:52 PB); Briton Chris Thompson (debut); and Australians Ben St. Lawrence (debut), Collis Birmingham (1:05:46) and Michael Shelley (1:02:10). On the women’s side, Briton Freya Murray (1:12:44), Burundian Diane Nukuri-Johnson (1:12:08), South African Irvette Van Blerk (1:10:56), Pole Karolina Jarzynska (1:10:36), and Australian Lisa Jane Weightman (1:09:00) also joined the field.
Two-time World Marathon Majors series champion Liliya Shobukhova of Russia was forced to withdraw from the race due to a hamstring injury. Shobukhova, an early favorite for the Olympic Marathon in London this summer, was set to open her 2012 season at the NYC Half.
The previously announced men’s field includes three world-class Americans: 2012 Olympic Trials Marathon champion Meb Keflezighi, two-time Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein, 2011 World Championships 10,000-meter runner Scott Bauhs, and 2010 USA 10-K road running champion Ed Moran. Also announced were Moroccan Olympian Abderrahime Bouramdane; Kenyan Peter Kirui, who competed in the 10,000 meters at the 2011 IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea; Ethiopian Feyisa Lilesa, the 2011 IAAF World Championships Marathon bronze medalist; Canadian Olympian Eric Gillis; Wesley Korir of Kenya, runner-up at the 2011 Bank of American Chicago Marathon; Ethiopian Olympian Deriba Merga, the 2009 Boston Marathon champion; and Kenyan Sam Chelanga, the NCAA 10,000-meter record-holder.
The women’s pro field includes previously announced top American runners Kara Goucher and Desiree Davila (both members of this year’s U.S. Olympic Marathon team), Janet Cherobon-Bawcom, Julie Culley, Jeannette Faber, and Stephanie Pezzullo. Molly Pritz, the top American female finisher in the ING New York City Marathon 2011, was forced to withdraw from the race due to illness. Also announced were Mexican Olympian Madai Perez, British Olympian Jo Pavey, Dutch Olympian Hilda Kibet, and Claire Hallissey, a contender for the British Olympic marathon team.
The race, which features a $100,000 prize money purse, will be broadcast live on WABC-TV in the New York Tri-State area (channel 7), and at tv.nyrr.org on-line. The race broadcast begins at 7:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, and the starter’s horn will blow at 7:30 a.m.