In 2011, Firehiwot Dado and Buzunesh Deba ran shoulder to shoulder for miles toward the distant finish line of the ING New York City Marathon, working together to catch the speeding Mary Keitany. By the time they reached the homestretch, they'd passed Keitany and were leading the race. The final 400 meters came down a thrilling duel between the two Ethiopians that was eventually won by Dado in 2:23:15 to Deba’s 2:23:19—personal bests for both athletes. Dado returns in 2013 as the defending champion, after the cancellation last year because of Superstorm Sandy. Deba, who lives in the Bronx, returns in her quest to become the first New York resident to win the race in 39 years. Both have faced down severe, lingering injuries just to get back to the starting line.
For Dado, 29, the major culprit was a gruesome blister on her foot. For Deba, 26, it was an ankle injury, which forced her out of the 2012 Boston Marathon just days before the race. Each has run only one marathon since their NYC battle: Dado finished fourth in the 2012 Boston Marathon; Deba was runner-up in the 2012 Chevron Houston Marathon. "[Dado] has the idea that she wants to defend a championship,” said her coach, Haji Adilo yesterday. “That is how she is approaching this race. Depending on the weather, she feels like she is fit enough to run a PR. Her mileage is the same as before. She is still running 150 to 180 kilometers [93 to 111 miles] per week. But the marathon has gotten faster, so now she is doing more speed work.”
Blue Line to Honor Boston Marathon
On Wednesday morning, to honor victims and others who were impacted by the bombings at the Boston Marathon last spring, NYRR will add a quarter-mile stripe of yellow to its traditional blue line, which traces the 26.2-mile course through all five boroughs. The ceremonial painting of the ING New York City Marathon blue line—which traces the 26.2-mile course through all five boroughs—will begin at 9:00 a.m. at the marathon finish line.Thomas Grilk, executive director of the Boston Athletic Association, which organizes the Boston Marathon, will paint the yellow line at the ceremony. Before the line painting, NYRR will present the Rudin Family with the Abebe Bikila Award for their outstanding commitment and contributions to the sport of distance running.
“Run with Ryan” if You Dare
ASICS is challenging New Yorkers to “Better Their Best” with a treadmill test: Can anyone run as fast as Ryan Hall, the fastest American marathoner in history?
ASICS has been taking its one-of-a-kind custom-built treadmill, set to a 4:46 mile pace, on a five-borough tour of NYC that kicked off last Thursday. Runners—strapped into a safety harness, for reasons that soon become obvious in this video—are invited to see how long they can hold the pace. From now until the ING New York City Marathon, ASICS America will donate $5 for every minute logged at Hall’s pace, up to $26,200, to a local charity.
The schedule of remaining tour stops:
Wednesday (10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.): Flat Iron building, 23rd Street near Broadway and Sixth Avenue, with Ryan Hall
Thursday (noon to 10:00 p.m.): Time Warner Center, south side of 60th Street at Broadway
Friday: ASICS Bryant Park Store, 51 West 42nd Street
Saturday: Central Park, north side of 59th Street at Seventh Avenue
Josh George in Chicago Rematch
The Midwest seems to be a good place for Josh George, the 2012 Paralympic bronze medalist and reigning world champion at 800 meters, to spend the month of October. George, 28, won the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon on October 6 in 1:37:08 by 1:20 over runner-up Aaron Pike on a hilly course that proved to be a good training ground for his Bank of America Chicago Marathon battle the following week. In Chicago—which he won in 2003, 2004, and 2006—he tied for second in a three-way sprint won by South Africa’s Ernst van Dyk in 1:30:37, finishing alongside Australian Kurt Fearnley just one second back. All three will be duking it out again on Sunday in the ING New York City Marathon. In 2011, George was seventh here, in 1:39:02. His personal best is 1:22:55, set at Grandma’s Marathon in 2012.
McGrory Returns to Defend Title
Amanda McGrory, who set the ING New York City Marathon women’s wheelchair course record (1:50:24) when she won by more than 2 ½ minutes in 2011, is back to defend her title. The 28-year-old from Champaign, IL, will be competing here for the sixth time and has never finished off the podium. Speaking of podiums, McGrory has already seen three of them this year: She was runner-up in the Virgin Money London Marathon and finished third in the Boston Marathon and Bank of America Chicago Marathon.
And don’t forget …
Delilah DiCrescenzo, 30, who competed for Columbia University, will be making her marathon debut on Sunday. DiCrescenzo trains with the New Jersey–New York Track Club under Coach Frank Gagliano. For a bio, click here. For an ESPN the Magazine story on how the song changed her life, click here.
Wheelchair racer Ryan Chalmers covered 3,321 miles in 71 days this summer in his “Push Across America.” Read about the journey, why he took it, and who he met along the way here.
Spain’s José Manuel “Chema” Martinez, 42, is motivated and has trained as well as he has in years, according to a tweet from pro athlete consultant David Monti. Although he has previously run the ING New York City Marathon for fun, this will be his competitive debut.
When Yolanda Caballero, 31, ran 2:26:17 in her debut at the distance at the 2011 Boston Marathon, the Colombian recorded the fastest marathon ever run by a South American woman. Not long afterward, her life took a tragic turn. Learn more about her love and loss here.
“On the Run” is Back
“On the Run” returns for Race Week of the ING New York City Marathon on Wednesday night at 8:00 p.m. The kick-off show will feature:
• A look back at the runners who helped Staten Island victims of Superstorm Sandy last year
• A profile of Buzunesh Deba, who will try to become the first New Yorker to win the ING New York City Marathon in decades
• And a closeup of Jon Mendes, who at 93 is the oldest runner in the race. Guests will includeworld-class steeplechaser Delilah DiCrescenzo, who will make her marathon debut on Sunday, and Robert Johnson of Letsrun.com.
Tim Hutchings, Carrie Tollefson, and Karla Bruning host the show, which will be live here at 8:00 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, and 4:00 p.m. on Monday, and available on demand.
With Kristine Smith and Joe Battaglia