Mebrahtom Keflezighi of the United States holds the United States' national flag aloft as he approaches the finish line in the Men's Marathon of the London 2012 Olympic Games. (Getty Images) © Copyright
Previously announced runners for this IAAF Gold Label Road Race include two-time Olympian Ryan Hall of the U.S. and Kim Smith of New Zealand.
Other top U.S. male contenders include Nick Arciniaga, Scott Bauhs, Andrew Carlson, and Ryan Vail.
The powerhouse pack of Americans will be chasing the newly introduced $100,000 prize purse for U.S. citizens. The purse goes to the top five American finishers and is equal for men and women: $20,000, $15,000, $10,000, $3,500, and $1,500. Prize money in the Open Division and NYRR Member Division remains the same, giving the Marathon a total prize purse of $853,000.
"It’s a good day when we are announcing the equivalent of the USA Men’s Dream Team in Marathon running," said New York Road Runners president and CEO Mary Wittenberg. "The field this year is larger-than-life, led by perennial contender Meb Kefezighi and his 2012 Olympic marathon teammates Abdi Abdirahman and Ryan Hall. Two of America’s best distance runners - Jason Hartmann and Brett Gotcher - add to the incredible lineup, and we can’t wait to see what they can do in their NYC Marathon debuts."
Keflezighi, 37, of Mammoth Lakes, CA, will be a frontrunner not only in this year’s race, but next year’s as well. The three-time Olympian signed a two-year contract to compete in the race. Keflezighi’s fourth-place finish in the 2012 London Olympic Marathon was only the second time that the United States has placed a man in the top five since Frank Shorter earned silver in 1976 — the other being Keflezighi’s own silver-medal performance in the 2004 Athens Games. After winning the U.S. Marathon Trials earlier this year, he was the top American in the 2011 NYC Half, placing 13th in 1:01:41. In 2009, he became the first American since Alberto Salazar in 1982 to win the New York City Marathon. He has finished in the top 10 in the ING New York City Marathon a total of six times, most recently with a sixth-place finish in 2011. Keflezighi is also a three-time USA cross country champion (2001, 2002, 2009) and has won more than 20 USA titles in his career.
"I’m excited to celebrate the 10th anniversary of my debut in the marathon by running the 2012 ING New York City Marathon," said Keflezighi. "By this November, I will have run eight of the last 10 NYC Marathons. I’m thankful for not only winning the race in 2009, but also finishing in the top 10 in all but one. I would like to thank NYRR for introducing me to the marathon and supporting me every step of the way, including my 2004 Olympic silver medal, through injuries, and podium finishes in WMM races."
Abdirahman, 35, of Tucson, AZ, became a four-time Olympian by finishing third in the U.S. Marathon Trials in January 2012. He is also a four-time USA 10,000m champion (2001, 2005, 2007, 2008). Abdirahman ran the 2007 NYC Half in 1:00:29, which is currently the fourth-fastest Half Marathon ever run by an American. He finished second behind Haile Gebrselassie’s course record. He also finished fifth in 2:11:24 at the 2005 ING New York City Marathon.
Hartmann, 31, of Boulder, CO, was the top American finisher in the 2012 Boston Marathon. His fourth-place finish earned him his first-ever points on the World Marathon Majors leaderboard. Hartmann has a half-marathon personal best of 1:03:07, set in the USA Championships in Houston in 2006, and a marathon best of 2:11:06 from the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in 2010. He also won the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon in 2009. Although he has never run the ING New York City Marathon, he was 10th in the 2008 Olympic Trials in Central Park and finished third when NYRR hosted the USA 8K Championships in 2008.
Gotcher, 28, of Flagstaff, AZ, won his first USA Championship (20K) in 2009. Several months later, he made his marathon debut at the Chevron Houston Marathon, finishing seventh with a time of 2:10:36—the fourth-fastest debut in U.S. history, and the third-fastest time by an American that year. At the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon in January, Gotcher finished fifth in a time of 2:11:06, and he became the Team USA alternate for the Olympic marathon after fourth-place finisher Dathan Ritzenhein made the team at 10,000 meters. This will be the first ING New York City Marathon for Gotcher, who has decided to train for the race at sea level in his hometown of Watsonville, CA (near Santa Cruz).
Organisers for the IAAF