Friday, November 5, 2010

The Big Apple's Marathon Stars

Meb Keflezighi 2009 London MarathonIt runs through five boroughs, including two islands and two bridges, with a finish line in one of the most spectacular spots in the Big Apple. It welcomes at least 45,000 runners and has held the honor of being the U.S. marathon with the most finishers in recent years--with 43,660 finishers in 2009, it has the most finishers ever in a marathon. And as it celebrates it's 40th anniversary this year, the ING New York City Marathon is pulling out all the stops with a star-studded field.

I would have said this months ago when the race announced that Meb Keflezighi and Deena Kastor would be two elite front runners come November...Keflezighi to defend his title and Kastor to shoot for her first NYC win. But I still have to stand by the assertion months later, even with Kastor pulling out after announcing her pregnancy. Why? Because not only are there a handful of famous names and faces toeing the line, but there are also some famous running faces embracing the "city that never sleeps" as the calendar to race day counts down.

For starters, Ryan Hall and Deena Kastor can be found at the marathon expo. These two may not be running much lately--between Hall first dropping out of Chicago, then dropping his coach Terence Mahon, and Kastor due in a few months-but they're out to support the runners. And so is Josh Cox, a Meb training buddy in Mammoth (check out this funny video from last winter) and close friends with former The Bachelor Andy Baldwin.

As for those toeing the line on Sunday, November 7, here are a few of the recognizable names among the 45,000 or so expected runners.
  • Al Roker. This Today Show weatherman alluded to running his first marathon earlier this year but made his goal sound like more of a pipe dream than a reality. He's already notched a half marathon, completing August's Rock 'n' Roll Chicago, and his somewhat slimmer shape only further indicates that he's ready to chug through 26.2.
  • Meredith Vieira. Maybe the Today Show likes running races in pairs? Hoda and Natalie did their first triathlon together last summer, and now it's Al and Meredith's turn. She predicted a 6-hour finish--or thereabouts--on Friday's show.
  • Andy Baldwin. This Bachelor ran the Comrades Marathon in May--a 56-mile trek across South Africa--and now will be taking to the streets of New York.
  • Shalane Flanagan. The last time an American woman won the NYC Marathon was 1977. And while Flanagan may be making her marathon debut on Sunday--following in the footsteps of Deena Kastor and Kara Goucher--many are thinking she could break the drought and become the top American marathoner.
  • Desiree Ficker. I keep thinking of Ficker as the dark horse in this competiton. Because she's more known among the Ironman circuit--she finished second to Michellie Jones in Kona in 2006--but even more so because her running strength helped her achieve that runner-up slot. I can only imagine how fast her legs could potentially go when she doesn't have a 2.4-mile swim and 112-mile bike ride before the marathon.
  • Subway Jared. Is the famous sandwich-dieter now adding the same flair to marathoning? Maybe so as Jared Fogle takes on New York's 26.2 in hopes of inspiring others to get off the couch and get running--no matter the speed.
  • Ethan Zohn and Ryan Sutter. You remember Sutter from The Bachelorette and Zohn from Survivor, but these two are more than reality TV stars. They're friends...but at this race they're friends racing within the race to see who can best whom to earn more money for their charities.
  • Edison Pena. He's the Chilean miner who's also a marathoner and has been making the headlines since the 32 miners were rescued from the mine. Pena kept up with his training while underground, just a little modified.
  • Haile Gebrselassie. Possibly the best part about Sunday's race will be the showdown between this speedster and defending champion Meb. It's been labeled Geb versus Meb and rightly so...these two could go stride from stride all the way to Central Park.
Know someone who's running and needs to make this list? Will you be watching or following on Sunday? Check for more details and be sure to tune in Sunday.

Photo by Julian Mason from London, UK (Crop of London Marathon 26.04.09 (3)) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...