Skip to main content

'NYC Half Adds International Stars'

By David Monti

(c) 2012 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

日体大Toyo University's Kento Otsu (#2) and Yuta Shitara (#4).  Photo by Kazuyuki Sugimatsu.

NEW YORK (01-Mar) -- The New York Road Runners announced today that some of the distance running's top international stars would run the seventh annual NYC Half on Sunday, March 18, joining USA Olympians Desiree Davila, Kara Goucher, Meb Keflezighi and Dathan Ritzenhein at America's most competitive spring half-marathon.

Race director Mary Wittenberg, the NYRR's president and, called the additions to the race "a dynamic field of stars," adding that "the NYC Half will provide a thrilling preview" for this summer's Olympic Marathon.

Leading the list on the women's side are defending champion, Caroline Rotich of Kenya (1:08:52 PB); the fastest-ever women's half-marathoner on U.S. soil, Kim Smith of New Zealand (1:07:11); and reigning ING New York City Marathon champion, Firehiwot Dado of Ethiopia (1:09:26).  Also expected to start the women's race are Olympians Jo Pavey of Great Britain (1:08:53), Madai Perez of Mexico (1:09:45), Hilda Kibet of the Netherlands (1:08:39), and Lisa Jane Weightman of Australia (1:09:00).  London Olympic hopefuls include Olesya Syreva of Russia (1:09:52), Irvette Van Blerk of South Africa (1:10:56), Yolanda Caballero of Colombia (1:12:35), and Claire Hallissey of Great Britain (1:12:02).

"Winning the NYC Half last year made me believe that anything is possible if I train hard," said Rotich through a statement from her training base in Santa Fe, N.M.. "It made me believe that I can win more and more. The first time I went to New York, it was so busy and it was too much for me!  But the more I go back, it gets easier and easier. I love all the crowds that come out to watch in New York. Now, Im really excited to go back and try to defend my title."

Marilson Gomes Dos Santos, twice the winner of the ING New York City Marathon and the South American record holder for the half-marathon (59:33), will be one of the top contenders in the men's field, Wittenberg said.  In addition to the American stars, Dos Santos will have to worry about three exceptional Africans who are sure to be fighting for the win: Feyisa Lilesa and Deribe Merga of Ethiopia, and Peter Cheruiyot Kirui of Kenya.  Lilesa was the bronze medalist in the marathon at the IAAF World Championships last summer, and blasted a course record and personal best 59:22 at the Aramco Houston Half-Marathon last January.  Merga was the 2009 Boston Marathon champion and has a half-marathon career best of 59:15.  Kirui finished sixth at last summer's IAAF World Championships at 10,000m and boasts a half-marathon personal best of 59:40.

"I am excited to be returning to New York for the NYC Half, Gomes said in prepared remarks.  "My two wins in the ING New York City Marathon have been the most important victories of my running career, and last year the NYC Half prepared me well for the personal best that I set in the Virgin London Marathon. I'm hoping to run even faster in both races in this important Olympic year."

Other international entrants on the men's side include Morocco's Abderrahime Bouramdane (1:03:07+ PB), Kenya's Wesley Korir (1:02:40), Canada's Eric Gillis (1:03:34), and Kenya's Sam Chelanga (1:03:41).  In a special arrangement with the Ageo City Half-Marathon, the two top Japanese collegiate athletes from that race will also be competing, Kento Otsu (1:02:43) and Yuta Shitara (1:02:35).

The NYC Half is extraordinarily competitive.  According to the independent Association of Road Racing Statisticians, the NYC Half was the most competitive half-marathon in the United States last year for both men and women.  The race boasts a $100,000 prize money purse, and a $20,000 first prize, both the largest for any American half-marathon.

The NYRR expanded the field for this year's event to 15,000 athletes who will run on a new course from Central Park to the South Street Seaport.  The race will be televised live by WABC, and the telecast will also be available on-line at tv.nyrr.org beginning at 7:00 a.m. Eastern Time.
  
NOTE: Race Results Weekly Inc. provides professional athlete consulting for the New York Road Runners and the NYC Half --Ed.

JRN arranged the invitation for Hakone Ekiden winner Toyo University's Otsu and Shitara to run the NYC Half Marathon and will be accompanying them and their coach Toshiyuki Sakai to provide on-the-ground support and coverage.

photo (c) 2012 Kazuyuki Sugimatsu
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kiplagat, Ichiyama, Tadese and Shitara Lead Marugame Half Elite Field

The Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon is always one of Japan's deepest races of the year on the men's side, its 2012 running setting a world record for the most men under 64 minutes in a single half marathon in history. On the women's side the field is always smaller but still home to the 1:07:26 Japanese national record set by Kayoko Fukushi (Wacoal) back in 2006.

Edna Kiplagat (Kenya), Sara Hall (U.S.A.) and Betsy Saina (Kenya) lead the women's international field, two-time defending champ Eunice Kirwa (Bahrain) giving Marugame a miss this year. Fresh off a 1:09:14 PB at last month's Sanyo Ladies Half, Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) leads a trio of Japanese women with recent sub-1:10 times, something that has become a puzzling rarity lately. Fukushi is also back, her recent best of 1:12:04 a long way from her best days.

Speaking of which, world record holder Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea) will be looking to break 60 minutes for the first time since 2015. His toughest…

Cheboitibin, Kiprono and Sonoda Top Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon Elite Entries

With just over two weeks to go the organizers of the Feb. 4 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon have released their elite field for this year's race. With its history as an elite men-only race Beppu-Oita's women's field is still tiny given its status as an IAAF silver label race, but this year promises a good race between two local 2:32 women, 2016 winner Hiroko Yoshitomi (Memolead) and Yuka Takemoto (Canon AC Kyushu), that should see the 2:39:57 course record fall. Defending champ Haruka Yamaguchi (AC Kita) also returns with a 2:38:43 PB from last fall that puts her range of the course record as well.

The men's race is heavier-duty, with a spot in the MGC Race Tokyo Olympic Trials available to the top Japanese man under 2:11:00 and to up to five others if they clear 2:10. Hayato Sonoda (Kurosaki Harima) and Taiga Ito (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) are the only Japanese men in the field to have run those kinds of times in the last couple of years, and with support from 2:09~2:10 men

Tokyo Marathon to Move to March Date Beginning in 2019

At a press conference in Tokyo on Dec. 12, the Tokyo Marathon Foundation announced that beginning in 2019, the Tokyo Marathon will move from its current date on the last Sunday of February to the first Sunday of March. The next Imperial succession is set to take place in 2019, meaning that February 23 will become the Emperor's Birthday national holiday starting in 2020. The race date is being preemptively moved to avoid any potential overlap.

According to the Foundation, setting up and breaking down the facilities necessary to hold the Tokyo Marathon takes several days. With the finish area being positioned in front of the Imperial Palace there were concerns that problems would arise due to the large number of people who would gather in the area to celebrate the Emperor's birthday.

Translator's note: The Tokyo Marathon previously experimented with a March race date in 2009 but abandoned it to return to February the next year. Since 1994 the first Sunday of March has been t…