Thompson, Curtis Join NYC Half Field

March 07, 2012 at 11:15am EST | by Barbara Huebner

Last November, ING New York City Marathon weekend was a big one for both Chris Thompson and Bobby Curtis. That Saturday, Thompson won the inaugural NYRR Dash to the Finish Line 5K, and the next day Curtis made his 26.2-mile debut.

At the NYC Half on March 18, the two will split the difference and come together in the same race. New York Road Runners officials today are announcing that Olympic hopefuls Thompson, from Great Britain, and Curtis, from the United States, lead a group of additions to the professional field of the seventh-annual race.

This time, it is Thompson who will be making his debut at the distance.

In other race news, two-time World Marathon Majors series champion Liliya Shobukhova of Russia has been forced to withdraw from the race due to a hamstring injury. Shobukhova, the second-fastest female marathoner in history and an early favorite to win the Olympic Marathon in London this summer, was set to open her 2012 season at the NYC Half. Molly Pritz, the top American female finisher in the 2011 ING New York City Marathon, has also withdrawn, due to illness.

Curtis, 27, of Ardmore, PA, became the seventh-fastest American of all time at 10,000 meters when he ran 27:24.67 to finish second at the Stanford Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational in April 2011. He is a two-time Team USA member for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships and he won the 2008 NCAA Championship at 5000 meters in 13:33.93. Curtis finished 15th last fall in the ING New York City Marathon in a time of 2:16:44. He has a half-marathon best of 1:01:52, set in September 2011.

Thompson, 30, a Great Britain Olympic hopeful, was the 10,000-meter silver medalist at the 2010 European Athletics Championships in Barcelona. At the 2011 Stanford Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational, he ran 27:27.36 for 10,000 meters, the third-fastest time in British history.

For a complete list of additions to the field, click here.