Friday, October 30, 2009

New York 09: Where the Elite Come to Race

You know there's always at least one recognizable name among the elite field at the major marathons--New York, London, Chicago, Boston start the list rolling--but never do you find a race as stacked as the 2009 ING New York City Marathon. Rather than lone rangers to watch for, you have elite armies and it's a question of who has the faster legs on November 1 that's deciding the victor. Celebrating its 40th anniversary, the New York City Marathon is holding nothing back. The loaded elite field has been touted by as the best elite marathon race in America, and a group of past race champions have been invited back to run a race that put them in the history annals. You can't miss these names running the boroughs of New York--most will be near the front of the pack.
  • Paula Radcliffe. Radcliffe has won New York before, most recently last year, and holds the world record for the fastest women's marathon, which she set at Chicago in 2002 and lowered it in London in 2003.
  • Ryan Hall. Hall-elujah fever hits New York and Central Park will be going crazy when Hall approaches the finish line, gunning for a winning race if all goes well.
  • Meb Keflezighi. Known for his bronze medal in the Olympics marathon in Athens, Keflezighi can turn out a good run on this course as he's proven so before.
  • Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot. This 2009 Boston Marathon winner has shown he's fast in the past and may have scared some of his competitors by being a late entry to New York.
  • Salina Koskei. She surprised everyone by winning this year's Boston Marathon and pulling ahead of Kara Goucher and Dire Tune in the final stretch.
  • Brian Sell. At one point it was announced that this 2008 Olympian would be making his NYC Marathon debut. Although most likely bothered by the heat and humidity in Beijing, Sell usually puts up impressive times, but he may have to run a personal-best if everyone runs fast on Sunday.
  • Abdi Abdirahman. Abdirahman's name frequently pops up as a fast 10-miler, but he's not snail at the marathon.
  • Past champions: Rod Dixon, Hendrick Raamala, Steve Jones, Orlando Pizzolato, Marilson Gomes dos Santos, German Silva, Gary Muhrcke. Raamala and Gomes dos Santos stand the best chance of capturing the $70,000 bonus for any returning NYC champion who wins this 40th running. Muhrke won the first running back in 1970 and returns to conquer the course again at age 69.
  • Lyudmila Petrova. Petrova is no spring chicken, but at 41, she's showing no signs of falling to the back of the pack. Last year she finished second in NYC and broke the world's best time for women over 40 with her 2:25:43.
  • Magdalena Lewy-Boulet. This 2008 Olympian ran fast enough in Boston in 2008 to make the Olympic team and stands as the U.S. hope for a top finish.
  • Joan Benoit Samuelson. "Joanie" as she's affectionately called by friends and admirers has paced for Lance Armstrong at this race while also running it on her own. And with the 40th anniversary of the New York Marathon coinciding withthe 25th anniversary of her gold medal performance in the first women's Olympic Marathon, Los Angeles in 1984, she's back.
And for those running--to say you shared the course with this field will make many a runner jealous. There aren't many races where so many top runners past and present make a presence--maybe Boston with its rich history and qualification standards. But the eye is on New York this time of year. Photo of Paula Radcliffe at NikeTown New York at the pre-race pep rally, courtesy of Nike. Posted by Kate



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