When Edna Kiplagat and Sharon Cherop line up for the 2012 ING New York City Marathon, they will be vying not only for the victory in Central Park but also for the 2011–2012 World Marathon Majors title, worth $500,000.
These two top Kenyan women, along with Tiki Gelana, Firehiwot Dado, Tatyana Arkhipova, Moses Mosop, Wilson Kipsang, and Gebre Gebremariam, were announced today by New York Road Runners president and CEO Mary Wittenberg as leading a strong international field for the November 4 race.
Among them, the athletes have won six World Marathon Majors races in the past two years, as well as gold medals in the Olympic Games, IAAF World Championships, and IAAF World Cross Country Championships.
Kiplagat and Cherop are currently second and third in the 2011–2012 WMM standings, with 50 and 45 points, respectively. A win in New York is worth 25 points and Kenya’s Mary Keitany, who leads with 65 points, is not expected to run a fall marathon. For more information on scoring, click here.
Kiplagat, 32, won the ING New York City Marathon in 2010 and is the 2011 IAAF World Marathon Champion. She finished second in the Virgin London Marathon this spring in a personal-best 2:19:50.
“I've always loved running on the streets of New York, so I was really disappointed last year to miss the ING New York City Marathon because of the knee injury from my terrible fall at the World Championships, “ said Kiplagat. “I am, of course, very, very happy to be invited back to NYC this year, and will be doing my best to try to win the race again.”
Cherop, 28, won the 2012 Boston Marathon and is the 2011 IAAF World Championships bronze medalist. She brings a personal best of 2:22:39, set in Dubai in January. This will be her New York debut.
On Sunday, Cherop won the Philadelphia Rock ’n’ Roll Half Marathon in 1:07:21, the second-fastest half-marathon ever run in the United States. She said afterward that she has been training for the hills that she will face on November 4. “It’s a great race,” she said of the New York event, “and my shape is good."
Gelana, 24, of Ethiopia, won the 2012 London Olympic Marathon in an Olympic-record time of 2:23:07. Her personal best of 2:18:58, set in winning the ABN Amro Rotterdam Marathon this spring, is a national record and makes her the fifth-fastest woman in history. This will be her New York debut.
Dado, 28, of Ethiopia, returns to the ING New York City Marathon as defending champion in a personal-best time of 2:23:15. Arkhipova, 29, of Russia, won a surprise bronze medal in the 2012 London Olympic Marathon after earning a silver medal in the steeplechase at the 2007 World Championships. This will also be her debut in New York.
The five women join, among others, New Zealand’s Kim Smith and 2012 U.S. Olympians Amy Hastings, Janet Bawcom, and Julie Culley.
“We have a star-studded field for the 2012 ING New York City Marathon headlined by a remarkable roster of World Marathon Major champions,” said Wittenberg. “It will be a race of strategy and intrigue as Edna Kiplagat and Sharon Cherop go for the NY title while running a race within the race for greatest women’s marathon of this WMM Series. 2012 Olympic marathon gold medalist Tiki Gelana and defending champ Firehiwot Dado will have their eyes on the prize of NY and next year’s WMM Series, and we can’t wait to see what Olympic marathon bronze medalist Wilson Kipsang will do in his ING New York City Marathon debut.”
On the men’s side, Mosop and Kipsang, both from Kenya, are also still in the hunt for the WWM crown and its $500,000 prize. Mosop will arrive in New York with 40 points and Kipsang with 35, but their fates may depend on results in Chicago and Berlin. Both men will be making their ING New York City Marathon debuts. On Sunday, Kipsang won the Bupa Great North Run, a half-marathon, in 59:06.
Mosop, 27, is the reigning 2011 Bank of America Chicago Marathon champion. In 2011, he ran 2:03:06—the second-fastest marathon of all time—to finish second to Geoffrey Mutai on the Boston Marathon’s uncertified course. Kipsang, 30, is the 2012 Olympic bronze medalist and the 2012 Virgin London Marathon champion. His personal best of 2:03:42, set at the 2011 Frankfurt Marathon, ranks him second on the official all-time list.
Gebremariam, 28, won the 2010 ING New York City Marathon in his debut at the distance, in 2:08:14. In 2011, the Ethiopian finished a wind-aided third in the Boston Marathon in a personal best of 2:04:53. A two-time Olympian, at 5000 meters and 10,000 meters, he was the 2009 IAAF World Cross Country champion.
The three men will be on the starting line alongside 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon team members Meb Keflezighi, the 2004 Olympic silver medalist who finished fourth in London, and Abdi Abdirahman. Keflezighi is also the 2009 ING New York City Marathon champion.
For the full press release, click here.
Photo: Tiki Gelana wins the 2012 Olympic Marathon. Credit: PhotoRun/NYRR