Can an American find his way on to the podium at this year’s race?
There’s always a lot of American excitement around the New York City Marathon, and with good reason. In 2009, Meb Keflezighi did what no U.S. runner had done in over two decades by winning the race in 2:09:15. He finished sixth each of the next two years, but his 2009 victory will forever serve as a beacon of hope for other American marathoners aspiring to win one a major marathon.
This year’s American men’s lineup for New York took a hit in recent weeks when it was announced that Ryan Hall withdrew from the race due to injury. Despite Hall’s absence, however, a strong U.S. contingent will line up at the starting line of the elite field on Staten Island on Sunday morning, including Keflezighi, two-time Boston Marathon fourth-place finisher Jason Hartmann, two-time world championships marathoner Jeffrey Eggleston, and Ryan Vail, who will be making his NYC debut.
Here’s a look at the top-5 American men to watch in Sunday’s race. We’ll preview the top-5 U.S. women to keep an eye on tomorrow.
1. Meb Keflezighi
With a win in New York in 2009, an Olympic silver medal in 2004, Olympic Trials win and fourth-place finish at the London Olympics, Keflezighi cannot be counted out as a contender in New York. The 38-year-old hasn't raced this fall, but if he's on the start line, it's a safe bet that he's ready to go. Keflezighi went out with the contenders here in 2011, hanging on past 20 miles before eventually fading to sixth. This could be his last New York City Marathon and Keflezighi would like nothing more than to go out with a bang in the Big Apple. Photo: PhotoRun.net
2. Jason Hartmann
The unsponsored Hartmann surprised some folks with a fourth-place finish at Boston in 2012, but anyone who thought it was a fluke was silenced when he did it again in 2013. This will be Hartmann's fourth New York City Marathon. He paced former teammate Dathan Ritzenhein at October's Chicago Marathon, but has otherwise been quiet on the racing front this fall. Hartmann, who stands at 6 feet, 3 inches, will be easy to spot amongst the elite field. Photo: PhotoRun.net
3. Jeffrey Eggleston
New York will be Eggleston's third marathon of the year, and he's hoping to build off the success of the first two. Eggelston ran 2:14 in Paris this past April, and in August ran 2:14 again to place 13th at the IAAF World Championships. He hasn't raced since Moscow, but expect Eggleston to put himself in the mix. Photo: PhotoRun.net
4. Ryan Vail
Vail has had a solid year of racing, which included a top-20 finish at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships and a 27:44 PR for 10,000m on the track. Vail won the Rock 'n' Roll San Jose Half Marathon in 62:46 on Oct. 6 as his lone tuneup race before NYC. Photo: PhotoRun.net
5. Allen Wagner
Wagner, 33, finished 36th at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon and has a personal best of 2:17:16. He finished 17th at New York in 2009 and will be looking to inch up a few spots at this year's race. Photo: PhotoRun.net