Deep U.S. Women’s Field Heading To New York

The women's race at this year's New York City Marathon is loaded with top talent. Photo: PhotoRun.net

Olympians and up-and-comers will battle it out at the New York City Marathon. 

NEW YORK — A strong field of 2012 U.S. Olympians are set to compete in the 2012 ING New York City Marathon. Olympic Trials champions Julie Culley (5000 meters) and Amy Hastings (10,000 meters) are among the competitors, as is 10,000-meter Olympic team member Janet Bawcom, it was announced today by New York Road Runners President and CEO Mary Wittenberg.

Previously announced women runners in the race include New Zealand Olympian Kim Smith. The men’s field will include previously announced three-time U.S. Olympian and 2009 ING New York City Marathon champion Meb Keflezighi, four-time Olympian Abdi Abdirahman, 2012 Boston Marathon fourth-placer Jason Hartmann, and 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials fifth-placer Brett Gotcher.

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Nationally, the telecast will be available on ESPN2, online at WatchESPN.com, and—for fans who receive their video subscription from an affiliated provider—on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app. Locally, New Yorkers can watch the race on WABC-TV and 7online.com.

“We are honored to welcome a blockbuster field of up and coming American women,” said Wittenberg. “Our Olympians, Amy, Janet, and Julie will lead the U.S. team and it will be a special treat to host “local” Julie Culley in her marathon debut.”

Culley, 30, of Annandale, NJ, qualified for the 2012 Olympic Games by winning the women’s 5000 meters at the U.S. Trials in a then–personal best time of 15:13.77; she lowered that to 15:05.38 in her semifinal race in London to qualify for the Olympic final. This will be Culley’s marathon debut. She was the 2011 USA 5K champion on the roads and the 2011 USA 10-Mile Championships runner-up. Culley finished second in the 2011 NYRR Dash to the Finish Line 5K on ING New York City Marathon weekend, and she ran the 2012 NYC Half in March, finishing in 1:13:31.

“It is only fitting I cap off the most memorable racing season of my career where it all began early this year,” said Culley.  “Beginning with my first half marathon at the NYC Half in March, 2012 was a year of firsts, including my first national championship on the track at the Olympic Trials in the 5000 meters, my first Olympic Team birth, and now my first marathon.”

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Hastings, 28, of Leavenworth, KS, also triumphed at the Olympic Trials, winning the 10,000 meters in 31:58.36. She led the U.S. women in the London 10,000 meters, placing 11th, just one spot ahead of Bawcom. Hastings took second at the 2011 Los Angeles Marathon in 2:27:03, the third-fastest debut in U.S. history; she finished 15th in the 2009 NYRR New York Mini 10K (34:40) and sixth at the 2011 NYRR Dash to the Finish Line 5K (16:07).

“Two thousand twelve has been the most incredible year of my running life,” said Hastings. “There have been ups and downs to try and make the Olympic team, but that only made it better when I finally was able to race in front of the Olympic torch for the U.S. For me, there is only one fitting way to finish a year like this, only one way that can live up to the hype of the Olympics, and that is by racing on the shut-down streets of Manhattan for the famous ING New York City Marathon. It is a race I have dreamed about running for years, but racing my first one in 2012 just seems right.”

Bawcom, 34, of Flagstaff, AZ, won the USA Championships in Grand Rapids, MI, earlier this year in a new American record time of 1:24:36. After finishing fifth at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in January, Bawcom qualified for the Games in the 10,000 meters, and she finished 12th in London in a personal-best 31:12.68. Earlier this spring, Bawcom won the USA 15K Championships in a blistering 49:41. She has run the last two editions of the NYC Half, setting her personal best of 1:09:55 in the 2012 race this past March.

Other top U.S. women competing this year include:

  • Michelle Frey, 29, of Minneapolis, MN, who placed third in the 2012 USA Half- Marathon Championships
  • Alisha Williams, 29, of Colorado Springs, CO, who finished fifth at the 2012 Olympic Trials 10,000 meters
  • Serena Burla, 28, of Falls Church, VA, the fifth-ranked American marathoner in 2012
  • Molly Pritz, 24, of Boulder, CO, who returns to the race after finishing first among American women in her 2011 debut

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