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Local Elite Runners Battle Top Pro Field at 2014 NYC Half on March 16

March 11, 2014

Race to be broadcast live in the New York metropolitan area on WABC-TV from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m.

New York, March 11, 2014—The 2014 NYC Half will bring together the best local runners in the New York metropolitan area and the top professional runners in the world on Sunday, March 16, 2014. A trio of New York residents—U.S. Olympic Marathon qualifier Caroline LeFrak of Manhattan, 2013 Staten Island Half-Marathon winner Michael Cassidy of Staten Island, and the 2012 Fred Lebow Women’s Runner of the Year Aziza Aliyu of Manhattan, NY—will take on some of the world’s fastest men and women, including Olympic and world champion Mo Farah of Great Britain, reigning New York City Marathon champion Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya, and American distance star Molly Huddle, it was announced today by New York Road Runners president and CEO Mary Wittenberg.

“These local elite athletes are the core of our running community in the New York metropolitan area,” said Wittenberg. “The five boroughs and the surrounding region are filled with unbelievable talent, and they all have a passion for running that matches their love for the area.  From Central Park to the streets of Staten Island, our local runners are the pride of NYRR. It’s important to support these runners and their local clubs in any way we can, and we’re thrilled to see them compete with the world’s best at home in the NYC Half.”

LeFrak, 30, qualified for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, where she finished 32nd in a personal-best 2:38:14. She was a three-time NCAA Championships runner-up at Columbia University. Cassidy, 28, won the 2014 Fred Lebow Manhattan Half, the 2013 NYRR Staten Island Half-Marathon, and the 2013 American Heart Association Wall Street Run; he was a top-25 finisher at the 2013 New York City Marathon, finishing hand-in-hand with U.S. Olympian Meb Keflezighi, who will also be competing in the 2014 NYC Half. Aliyu, 28, won the 2013 UAE Healthy Kidney 10K in Central Park and finished second to Olympic medalist Deena Kastor at the 2013 More Magazine|Fitness Magazine Women’s Half-Marathon.

“I’m excited to run the NYC Half for the seventh year in a row,” said Cassidy. “The course encompasses several of my daily training routes, and it will be fun to compete against the world’s best on my home turf. After a long, cold winter, I’m ready to race, and I hope to represent New York City well.”

Many of these runners are from local New York City running clubs, including West Side Runners, the New York Athletic Club, the Westchester Track Club, and Central Park Track Club New Balance. These clubs’ runners participate in many NYRR races throughout the year and are an important asset to the local running community. West Side Runners member Tesfaye Girma, 31, of New York, NY, who finished fourth overall in the 2011 NYC Half in a personal-best time of 1:00:35, will return to the field this year. Central Park Track Club’s Jane Vongvorachoti, 30, of Woodside, NY, a dual citizen of the United States and Thailand—she is a 2016 Olympic Marathon hopeful for that country—will also be in the women’s race.

“I am really excited to run the NYC Half this year, where I will look to qualify for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials,” said Vongvorachoti. “I look forward to the race because of the amazing field that New York Road Runners has put together to make it more competitive.”

Rounding out the field of top local runners in the NYC Half are Harbert Okuti, 28, of New Paltz, NY, a former Iona College standout and the Bronx 10-Mile record-holder, and Tesfaye Assefa Dube, 30, of the Bronx, who was the highest-finishing NYRR member at the 2013 New York City Marathon. Liz Costello, 26, of Hoboken, NJ, set the women’s record at the 2013 Scotland Run (10K) with a time of 33:22 and was the first NYRR member at the 2013 Oakley NY Mini 10K, finishing 10th in a world-class field. She’ll be joined by Sarah Cummings, 25, of Manhattan, NY, who has already qualified for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials with her time of 2:39:28 at the 2013 USA Marathon Championships, in which she finished 10th.

The NYC Half will be broadcast live in the New York City metropolitan area on WABC-TV from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. EDT. Viewers can also watch the race on from 7:00 to 10:30 a.m. EDT, or via WatchABC on mobile devices, from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. EDT (for participating cable providers). For those who have video subscriptions with affiliated providers, the race will also be available via WatchESPN from 7:00 to 10:30 a.m.

For the latest NYC Half news, updates, features, and media information, please visit the NYRR online media room at or follow us on Twitter @nyrrnews. On the Run, NYRR’s behind-the-scenes webcast available at, takes viewers inside the NYC Half and will air Tuesday through Sunday of Race Week.

About NYRR

Founded in 1958, New York Road Runners has grown from a local running club to the world’s premier community running organization, whose mission is to help and inspire people through running. NYRR’s commitment to New York City’s five boroughs features races, community events, youth initiatives, school programs, and training resources that provide hundreds of thousands of people each year, from children to seniors, with the motivation, know-how, and opportunity to run for life. NYRR’s premier event, the TCS New York City Marathon, features 50,000 participants, from the world’s elite athletes to a wide range of recreational and charity runners, and is part of the World Marathon Majors, an alliance of the world’s six biggest marathons that determines each year’s top male and top female marathoner. To learn more, visit

Categories: Half Marathon News