U.S. Olympian Abdi Abdirahman announced for race, and American distance dynamos Jason Hartmann and Brett Gotcher will make ING New York City Marathon debuts
American wheelchair field to feature veterans Krige Schabort, Adam Bleakney, and Josh George
New $100,000 prize purse introduced for American runners
New York, August 29, 2012—Meb Keflezighi, who finished fourth (and first American) in the 2012 Olympic Marathon; his teammate in London and four-time U.S. Olympian Abdi Abdirahman; and two other top American marathoners, Jason Hartmann and Brett Gotcher, will run the 2012 ING New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 4, it was announced today by New York Road Runners president and CEO Mary Wittenberg.
Previously announced runners for the race include two-time Olympian Ryan Hall of the USA and Kim Smith of New Zealand.
ING New York City Marathon veterans Krige Schabort, Adam Bleakney, and Josh George highlight a stacked American men’s wheelchair field.
Other top U.S. male contenders include Nick Arciniaga, Scott Bauhs, Andrew Carlson, and Ryan Vail.
The Marathon will be televised live nationally on ESPN2 and ESPN3 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET/6:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. PT. Locally, New Yorkers can watch the race on WABC-TV and 7online.com from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
The powerhouse pack of Americans will be chasing the newly introduced $100,000 prize purse for U.S. citizens. The purse goes to the top five American finishers and is equal for men and women: $20,000, $15,000, $10,000, $3,500, and $1,500. Prize money in the Open Division and NYRR Member Division remains the same, giving the Marathon a total prize purse of $853,000.
“It’s a good day when we are announcing the equivalent of the USA Men’s Dream Team in Marathon running,” said Wittenberg. “The field this year is larger-than-life, led by perennial contender Meb Kefezighi and his 2012 Olympic marathon teammates Abdi Abdirahman and Ryan Hall. Two of America’s best distance runners— Jason Hartmann and Brett Gotcher—add to the incredible lineup, and we can’t wait to see what they can do in their NYC Marathon debuts.”
Keflezighi, 37, of Mammoth Lakes, CA, will be a frontrunner not only in this year’s race, but next year’s as well. The three-time Olympian signed a two-year contract to compete in the ING New York City Marathon. Keflezighi’s fourth-place finish in the 2012 London Olympic Marathon was only the second time that the United States has placed a man in the top five since Frank Shorter earned silver in 1976—the other being Keflezighi’s own silver-medal performance in the 2004 Athens Games. After winning the U.S. Marathon Trials earlier this year, he was the top American in the 2011 NYC Half, placing 13th in 1:01:41. In 2009, he became the first American since Alberto Salazar in 1982 to win the New York City Marathon. He has finished in the top 10 in the ING New York City Marathon a total of six times, most recently with a sixth-place finish in 2011. Keflezighi is also a three-time USA cross country champion (2001, 2002, 2009) and has won more than 20 USA titles in his career.
“I’m excited to celebrate the 10th anniversary of my debut in the marathon by running the 2012 ING New York City Marathon,” said Keflezighi. “By this November, I will have run eight of the last 10 NYC Marathons. I’m thankful for not only winning the race in 2009, but also finishing in the top 10 in all but one. I would like to thank NYRR for introducing me to the marathon and supporting me every step of the way, including my 2004 Olympic silver medal, through injuries, and podium finishes in WMM races.”
Abdirahman, 35, of Tucson, AZ, became a four-time Olympian by finishing third in the U.S. Marathon Trials in January 2012. He is also a four-time USA 10,000-meter champion (2001, 2005, 2007, 2008). Abdirahman ran the 2007 NYC Half in 1:00:29, which is currently the fourth-fastest half-marathon ever run by an American. He finished second behind Haile Gebrselassie’s course record. He also finished fifth in 2:11:24 at the 2005 ING New York City Marathon.
Hartmann, 31, of Boulder, CO, was the top American finisher in the 2012 Boston Marathon. His fourth-place finish earned him his first-ever points on the World Marathon Majors leaderboard. Hartmann has a half-marathon personal best of 1:03:07, set in the USA Championships in Houston in 2006, and a marathon best of 2:11:06 from the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in 2010. He also won the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon in 2009. Although he has never run the ING New York City Marathon, he was 10th in the 2008 Olympic Trials in Central Park and finished third when NYRR hosted the USA 8K Championships in 2008.
“I’m excited for the morning of November 4,” said Hartmann. “Everyone dreams of running the ING New York City Marathon—it’s a bucket-list race. Even though I was fourth overall and the top American at the 2012 Boston Marathon, part of me still wants redemption after my performance at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. I have more to prove, and whenever I retire from this sport, I want to be able to say that I left my mark on all three major marathons on U.S. soil—Chicago, Boston and New York.”
Gotcher, 28, of Flagstaff, AZ, won his first USA Championship (20K) in 2009. Several months later, he made his marathon debut at the Chevron Houston Marathon, finishing seventh with a time of 2:10:36—the fourth-fastest debut in U.S. history, and the third-fastest time by an American that year. At the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon in January, Gotcher finished fifth in a time of 2:11:06, and he became the Team USA alternate for the Olympic marathon after fourth-place finisher Dathan Ritzenhein made the team at 10,000 meters. This will be the first ING New York City Marathon for Gotcher, who has decided to train for the race at sea level in his hometown of Watsonville, CA (near Santa Cruz).
“In 2009, I was lucky enough to ride in the lead car at the ING New York City Marathon when Meb had his historic win,” said Gotcher. “From that moment on, I was sold. To finally be able to toe the line on the biggest marathon stage is a thrill, and truly an honor.”
In reviewing the field for the men’s wheelchair race, Bob Laufer, coordinator for the race, said, “It looks like we will have the largest contingent of American men in the field this year. No American man has won the division title since its inception in 2000. Krige Schabort was the winner twice while competing for South Africa and is now a U.S. citizen. Perhaps this is the year an American will end up on the top of the podium.”
Bleakney, 37, of Savoy, IL, is a longtime racer and also the head coach of the prestigious wheelchair track and field and road-racing team at the University of Illinois—the most successful program in the country. He finished 11th in the 2011 ING New York City Marathon and 14th in 2010. Bleakney broke the American record for the all-conditions wheelchair marathon with his sixth-place 1:26:03 in the 2011 Boston Marathon.
George, 28, of Fairfax, VA, placed seventh in the 2011 ING New York City Marathon and 13th in 2010. He won the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in 2003, 2004, and 2006, and he finished third in 2011. George set world records at 100, 400, and 800 meters before age 25 and competed in seven track and field events at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics. He’s set to compete in this year’s Paralympics in London.
Schabort, 49, of Cedartown, GA, is one of the winningest athletes in history. He’s notched victories in Cleveland, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Detroit, New York City (2002 and 2003), and Honolulu (an astounding seven times). Schabort was on the South African Paralympic Team in 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004; he took the bronze medal in the 1992 Barcelona Paralympics Marathon and improved to the silver eight years later in Sydney. This will be his twelfth consecutive New York City Marathon.
Other top contenders in the U.S. men’s field:
“Our races are to our sport what Wimbledon and the Australian, U.S., and French Opens are to tennis, and what the Masters, U.S., and British Opens and PGA Championship are to golf. Each race has the history, the tradition, the honor roll of legendary champions, and a special place in the eyes of all to make them stand apart from the other events.” Mary Wittenberg