Two-time ING New York City Marathon champion Marilson Gomes dos Santos and three-time Olympian Kayoko Fukushi lead the roster of a dozen international athletes who round out the professional fields for the ING New York City Marathon on November 4, it was announced today by New York Road Runners president and CEO Mary Wittenberg.
Dos Santos, 35, of Brazil, won the ING New York City Marathon in 2006 and 2008 and will be competing in the race for the sixth time. He finished a strong fifth in the 2012 London Olympic Marathon, and could head toward 2016 as a major star as his home country hosts the next Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Fukushi, 30, holds the Japanese record at 3000 meters, 5000 meters, and the half-marathon. She ran a personal best of 2:24:38 in finishing third at the 2011 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, and she recently finished 10th at 10,000 meters in the 2012 Olympics.
At least one of the international stars won’t have to travel far: Returning for another attempt at victory will be 2011 ING New York City Marathon runner-up Buzunesh Deba, an Ethiopian who for the past seven years has lived and trained in the Bronx. Deba, 30, came to last year’s race, her first World Marathon Major, having won eight marathons in three years, and ran a personal best 2:23:19 in finishing just four seconds behind her friend and countrywoman Firehiwot Dado.
The race on November 4 will be a comeback for Deba, who pulled out of the 2012 Boston Marathon the day before the event with a foot injury and has not competed since, as well as a rematch with Dado, who was previously announced. Should Deba improve on her position from last year, she would become the first New York City resident to win the ING New York City Marathon since the race expanded to all five boroughs in 1976.
Also in the women’s field will be Jelena Prokopcuka, 35, of Latvia, and Valeria Straneo, 36, of Italy. Prokopcuka, a three-time Olympian who won the ING New York City Marathon in 2005 and 2006, ran a national-record time of 1:08:09 in finishing fourth at last weekend’s Bupa Great North Run half-marathon. Straneo set the Italian national marathon record with her 2:23:44 runner-up finish in the 2012 ABN Amro Rotterdam Marathon and placed eighth in the marathon at the 2012 Olympics.
“It has always been a dream of mine to run New York,” Straneo told the media in Milan on Tuesday, where her participation was officially announced. “If you are a runner, you must do New York at least once in your life because New York is the marathon. Everybody, even if they don't know the sport, people know New York.”
Also expected to compete are:
For the full press release, click here.