Soejima, Paralympic Stars Join Deep ING New York City Marathon Field

September 19, 2012 at 1:00pm EST | by Barbara Huebner, NYRR News Service

Defending men’s champion Masazumi Soejima and the silver and bronze medalists in the 2012 London Paralympics women’s marathon, Shelly Woods and Sandra Graf, headline a deep list of international wheelchair competitors announced today for the ING New York City Marathon.

The addition of Woods and Graf gives the 2012 race all three women’s marathon medalists from the recently concluded Paralympics: U.S. contender Shirley Reilly, who was previously announced, won the gold medal in London.

Soejima, 42, of Japan, is a three-time Paralympian who placed fourth in the men’s marathon in London this summer. The 2011 Boston Marathon champion, Soejima won in New York last year for his fourth podium finish in five years.

Woods, 26, of Great Britain, has been runner-up in the ING New York City Marathon four times. In addition to her Paralympic silver medal this year, Woods also won the Virgin London Marathon.

Graf, 42, of Switzerland, won the Virgin London Marathon in 2008. A four-time Paralympian, Graf this year won her second Paralympic bronze medal in the marathon, after her first in 2008.

Also joining the field:

  • Kurt Fearnley, 31, of Australia, who won the ING New York City Marathon for four consecutive years beginning in 2006. Fearnley has won nine medals in his four Paralympic appearances, including bronze in the marathon this year. He is also a two-time World Champion in the marathon
  • Marcel Hug, 27, of Switzerland, who took silver in the marathon at the 2012 Paralympics
  • Josh Cassidy, 27, of Canada, will be competing in the ING New York City Marathon for the seventh time. He won the 2012 Boston Marathon and the 2010 Virgin London Marathon
  • Heinz Frei, 54, of Switzerland, has won 14 Paralympic gold medals including the Winter Games, in which he has competed in cross-country skiing and biathlon. Frei has competed in every Summer Games going back to 1984, and is a three-time winner of the Virgin London Marathon.
  • Kota Hokinoue, 38, of Japan; Tomas Hamerlak, 37, of Poland; and Rafael Botello, 33, of Spain, who placed sixth, eighth, and ninth, respectively, in the London Paralympic marathon. Hokinoue was also third in the 2011 ING New York City Marathon.
  • Wakako Tsuchida, 38, of Japan, a five-time winner of the Boston Marathon who in 2011 there finished in 1:34:06 to break the women’s world record. Tsuchida was fifth in the London Paralympics marathon
  • Christie Dawes, 32, of Australia, won a bronze medal at 5000 meters and finished sixth in the marathon at the London Paralympics.
  • Diane Roy, 41, of Canada, finished seventh in the London Paralympics marathon.

In addition to Reilly, U.S. contenders previously announced include defending ING New York City Marathon champion Amanda McGrory; Tatyana McFadden, who won four Paralympic  medals in London; Josh George, Adam Bleakney, and Krige Schabort.

For the full press release, click here.

Photo: Masazumi Soejima. Credit: PhotoRun/NYRR