Shirley Reilly, one of the top Americans expected to compete in the women’s wheelchair division in the November 4 ING New York City Marathon, won gold in the Paralympic marathon (T54) on Sunday to complete a 2012 London medal trifecta.
Reilly, 27, of Tucson, AZ, won in a time of 1:46:33, making a late move to outsprint Great Britain’s Shelly Woods by one second. Trailing Woods by just one second were Switzerland’s Sandra Graf and American Amanda McGrory, with Graf awarded the bronze medal.
“It was a very tactical race, with a lot of twists and turns,” said Reilly, 27, of Tucson, AZ. “It was tough.”
It was the third medal of the Games for Reilly, who won silver at 5000 meters and bronze at 1500 meters. Earlier this year, Reilly was the surprise winner of the Boston Marathon.
300 Pounds Later, It’s Still Not Easy
Fighting self-doubt and battling setbacks that have included a case of bronchitis, Rick Salewske knows that the clock is ticking toward the ING New York City Marathon on November 4 and that he has a long way to go to get to the starting line.
The race will be his marathon debut and a celebration of his 10th anniversary of losing 300 pounds, after topping out at 538 pounds in October 2000. Debbie Fetterman, the running and triathlon columnist for the Dallas Morning News, has been following Salewske’s journey with monthly reports. For the latest installment, click here.
U.S. 5K Championships Field is Set
Defending champion Ben True, 2010 champion Robert Cheseret, and U.S. 2012 leader Andrew Bumbalough lead the men’s field for Sunday’s CVS Caremark Downtown 5K in Providence, RI, which has been designated the U.S. 2012 5K Championships.
Also expected are newcomer Elliott Heath, the 2011 NCAA champion at 3000 meters indoors, and veteran Alan Webb, the U.S. Record-holder in the mile.
Headlining the women’s field are 2012 Olympian and U.S. Record-holder Molly Huddle, who lives and trains in Providence; Gabriele Anderson, who finished fourth in the U.S. Olympic Trials at 1500 meters; 12-time U.S. champion Katie McGregor, and Neely Spence, who will be racing on the roads seriously for the first time as a professional. Read a Brief Chat with Spence, the daughter of 1991 IAAF World Championships Marathon bronze medalist Steve Spence, here.
Race director Charlie Breagy calls the field one of the strongest ever assembled for the championships.
Top Five Women Ready to Rock ‘n’ Roll
In announcing the women’s field for Sunday’s Philadelphia Rock ‘n’ Roll Half-Marathon, organizers claim that even if this were the Olympics, the top five entrants would make for a marquee event.
They’re not kidding. Expected to compete in the race’s 35th anniversary running are Ethiopia’s Meseret Defar, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist at 5000 meters and multiple world record-holder; Ethiopia’s Firehiwot Dado, winner of the 2011 ING New York City Marathon; Buzunesh Deba, winner of the 2011 Honda Los Angeles Marathon and runner-up at the 2011 ING New York City Marathon after a duel with Dado in the final miles; Kenya’s Sharon Cherop, winner of the 2012 Boston Marathon and a bronze medalist at the 2011 World Championships; and Ethiopia’s Mare Dibaba, the Ethiopian record-holder for the half-marathon and a 2012 Olympian.
The race record of 1:07:11 set by New Zealand’s Kim Smith last year, the fastest half-marathon ever run on U.S. soil, is in definite jeopardy.
Dibaba in Half-Marathon Debut
And over in the United Kingdom, long-time Defar rival and three-time Olympic gold medalist Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia will make her half-marathon debut when she toes the line in Sunday’s Bupa Great North Run. Dibaba, 27, is widely expected to make her marathon debut in 2013.
“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