Less than 24 hours after finishing second in last year’s inaugural Dash to the Finish Line 5K, Julie Culley climbed into the lead vehicle for the women’s race of the ING New York City Marathon, ready to do some reconnaissance.
“The whole weekend I was like ‘this is so cool, I want to do the marathon next year, absolutely,’” said Culley, who will be making her debut at the distance. “Then I got on that lead car and reality set in on how difficult this actually is. It was really good to see how it unfolds, and the intensity of it. I acknowledge what a challenge I have ahead of me.”
On November 4, Culley hopes to lead the pack again, but this time on foot: She, Amy Hastings, and Janet Bawcom form a trio of 2012 U.S. Olympians set to compete in the 2012 ING New York City Marathon, it was announced today by New York Road Runners president and CEO Mary Wittenberg.
Culley, 30, will be making her debut at the distance as a hometown favorite: She lives in Annandale, NJ, the same town in which she attended high school; is a graduate of Rutgers University; trains with the New Jersey-New York Track Club; and is even a New York Athletic Club and New York Road Runners member. She is the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials champion at 5000 meters, and competed in the final at the London Games, where she ran 15:05.38, a personal best by more than seven seconds. Culley is also the reigning U.S. 5K champion on the roads.
“Scary, riveting, exciting”
“I think that New York will probably be some of the biggest nerves I will ever have to deal with, to be honest,” Culley said. “This is a whole different monster. Doing something for the first time is kind of scary, but riveting and exciting at the same time. I’m excited about taking on a new distance and to see what that means for the future.”
Joining Culley on the starting line will be two of her U.S Olympic teammates. Hastings, 28, of Leavenworth, KS, won at 10,000 meters at the Trials, and finished as the top American, in 11th place, in the Olympics. She finished second in 2:27:03 at the 2011 LA Marathon, good for the third-fastest debut at the distance by a U.S. woman, and placed fourth in the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in January, just missing that team, before earning her spot to London in the 10,000 meters.
“For me, there is only one fitting way to finish a year like this, only one way that can live up to the hype of the Olympics, and that is by racing on the shut-down streets of Manhattan for the famous ING New York City Marathon,” Hastings said. “It is a race I have dreamed about running for years, but racing my first one in 2012 just seems right.”
Bawcom, 34, of Flagstaff, AZ, is the America record-holder at 25K thanks to her victory in 1:24:36 at the U.S. 25K Championships earlier this year. She is also the reigning U.S. road champion at 10K, 10 miles, and 15K. After finishing fifth at the U. S. Olympic Marathon Trials in January, Bawcom qualified for the Games in the 10,000 meters, finishing 12th in a personal best 31:12.68.
Frey, Williams, Burla, Pritz also set
“We are honored to welcome a blockbuster field of up-and-coming American women,” said Wittenberg. “Our Olympians—Amy, Janet, and Julie—will lead the U.S. team, and it will be a special treat to host ‘local’ Julie Culley in her marathon debut.”
Four other top U.S. women were also announced yesterday: Michelle Frey, 29, of Minneapolis, MN; Alisa Williams, 29, of Colorado Springs, CO; Serena Burla, 28, of Falls Church, VA; and Molly Pritz, 24, of Boulder, CO, who finished as the top American woman in last year’s race and was runner-up earlier this week in the Stratton Faxon New Haven Road Race, which serves as the U.S. 20K Championships.
For the full press release, click here.
“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