NEW YORK, September 18, 2012 — The professional women’s field for the 2012 ING New York City Marathon on November 4 is shaping up to be the fastest in the event’s history. New York Road Runner’s, the race’s organizer, today announced a group of runners that include London Olympic medalists and reigning champions.
Coming straight off of a gold-medal victory at the London Olympics, Tiki Gelana of Ethiopia will face off once again with Olympic bronze-medalist Tatyana Arkhipova of Russia in the women’s race. They’ll challenge the reigning ING New York City Marathon champion Firehiwot Dado of Ethiopia. But the two runners everyone will be watching are Edna Kiplagat and Sharon Cherop of Kenya, who are battling for the 2011-2012 World Marathon Majors title.
“It will be a race of strategy and intrigue as Edna Kiplagat and Sharon Cherop go for the NY title while running a race within the race for greatest women’s marathon of this WMM Series,” said New York Road Runners president and CEO Mary Wittenberg. “2012 Olympic marathon gold medalist Tiki Gelana and defending champ Firehiwot Dado will have their eyes on the prize of NY and next year’s WMM Series.”
Kiplagat, 32, is currently ranked second in the chase for the 2011-2012 World Marathon Majors title, a two-year racing series that splits a $1 million prize between the top male and female finishers. The series includes the London, Boston, Berlin, Chicago, and New York City marathons, along with the World Championships and Olympics in years that they are run. Kiplagat has a stellar resume: she’s the 2011 World Champion, 2010 ING New York City Marathon champion, and finished second at the 2012 Virgin London Marathon.
Cherop, 28, is ranked third on the 2011-2012 World Marathon Majors leader board. She’s the 2012 Boston Marathon champion and 2011 World Championships marathon bronze medalist. This will be her ING New York City Marathon debut.
If either woman wins the ING New York City Marathon, she will earn enough points to claim the 2011-2012 World Marathon Majors prize. Kenyan Mary Keitany, who currently sits in first place in Majors competition, will not run the race due to injury. But anything shy of first for Cherop and second for Kiplagat will not be enough to unseat Keitany.
Both women will have to get past some formidable competition first. At just 24 years old, Gelana is proving herself to be the runner to beat. With her gold medal performance in London, Gelana broke the Olympic record in a time of 2:23:07. She also broke the Ethiopian record, which is no small feat, at the 2012 Rotterdam Marathon. Finishing in 2:18:58, she beat the runner up by five minutes.
Arkhipova, 29, became a breakout marathon star with her bronze medal run at the 2012 Olympic Games. She was a silver medalist in the steeplechase at the 2007 World Championships and will be making her ING New York City Marathon debut. Meanwhile Dado, 28, has found much success in New York City. After winning the marathon in 2011, she went on to claim victory in the 2012 NYC Half Marathon as well. She has also won the Rome City Marathon three times.
On the men’s side, Olympic bronze-medalist Wilson Kipsang and 2011 Bank of America Chicago Marathon champion Moses Mosop will join 2010 ING New York City Marathon Champion Gebre Gebremariam of Ethiopia.
Kipsang, 30, is also the 2012 Virgin London Marathon champion. His personal best time of 2:03:42 is just four seconds behind the world record set by fellow Kenyan Patrick Makau at the 2011 BMW Berlin Marathon.
Kenya’s Mosop, 26, owns the second fastest marathon time ever recorded — a blistering 2:03:06 set at the 2011 Boston Marathon, which is not a world record eligible course because of its elevation drop and point-to-point nature.
The Kenyan men will face off against 2009 ING New York City Marathon winner Meb Keflezighi, who arrives from a fourth place marathon finish for the U.S. at the London Olympics. His teammate and four-time U.S. Olympian Abdi Abdirahman will be running as well.
The 2012 ING New York City Marathon on November 4 will be televised live nationally on ESPN2 and WatchESPN.com and locally in New York on WABC-TV and 7online.com. As the world’s largest marathon, the race attracts more than 47,000 runners and 330 million television viewers.
Karla Bruning is a veteran journalist and running nerd. She has completed four marathons, two triathlons, trains with the New York Harriers and is a member of New York Road Runners. Follow Karla’s “Notes From a Running Nerd” at RunKarlaRun.com, Facebook and Twitter@KBruning.
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