Three of the history’s most dominant women’s long-distance runners, defending champion and two-time World champion and Olympic medallist Catherine Ndereba of Kenya, 2004 Olympic bronze medallist Deena Kastor of Mammoth Lakes, CA, and World Half Marathon record holder Lornah Kiplagat of the Netherlands, will meet in New York on Sunday, 16 August in the NYC Half-Marathon.
It will be only the fourth time in their illustrious careers that the three will run against one another and the first showdown since the ING New York City Marathon 2006. Among them, the three have won three Olympic medals, 12 World Championship medals, and 11 World Marathon Majors races, and have set eight world records.
American marathon record-holder and three-time Olympian Kastor, 36, will make her first return to New York since she could not compete in the NYRR New York Mini 10K in June due to inflammation in the same foot that she broke during the 2008 Olympic marathon in Beijing. The injury was a momentary setback to a strong 2009 comeback season for Kastor, who scored victories in the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle in March and the BUPA Great Edinburgh Run in May.
“It is always exciting to return to New York and race against a competitive field of women,” said Kastor. “The NYC Half-Marathon is renowned among elite athletes wishing to compete at this distance, and this year it will showcase another stellar field in which I’m anxious to compete.”
A specialist on the road and track, the Kenyan-born Kiplagat, 35, who now represents the Netherlands, is coming back from a knee injury that has sidelined her since the World’s Best 10K in Puerto Rico on March 1 and also forced her out of the NYRR New York Mini 10K. Kiplagat is the three-time World Road Running champion and currently holds the women’s World record for the half marathon distance in 1:06:25, which she ran when winning the World title in Udine, Italy, in 2007.
“I am very excited to run in the NYC Half-Marathon, as it will be my first half-marathon in the United States,” said Kiplagat. “New York City feels like home and it’s always nice to race at home. I’m also looking forward to the strong competition.”
Ndereba, who will turn 37 on July 21, represents Kenya and lives in Nairobi. She will be seeking her third NYC Half-Marathon title, after winning the inaugural race in 2006 and reclaiming the title last year. A two-time Olympic marathon silver medallist and a two-time marathon World champion, Ndereba will return to New York after finishing fourth at the NYRR New York Mini 10K in June.
“It is always very exciting to be back in New York, and I love the course of the NYC Half-Marathon,” said Ndereba. “New York Road Runners always hosts us so well, and the competition is always the best. I am looking forward to a great competition running against Deena and Lornah. It is always my great pleasure to run against the best ladies.”
Also announced were 2009 NYRR New York Mini 10K champion Rose Kosgei, 28, of Kenya who won the 2009 Hervis Prague Half-Marathon earlier this year. Three-time Hungarian Olympian Aniko Kalovics, 33, and 2009 Guadalajara Half-Marathon champion Genoveva Jelegat Kigen, 29, of Kenya will also compete.
On the American side, Emily Brown, 25, of Minneapolis, MN, who won the USA Cross Country Championship earlier this year, will make her half-marathon debut. Heidi Westerling, 29, of Acworth, NH, who claimed victory at the Vermont City Marathon and the New Bedford Half-Marathon this year, joins the field, along with Samia Akbar, 27, of Reston, VA, and Ilsa Paulson, 20, of New York, NY. Surprise runner-up at the USA Half-Marathon Championships Kelly Jaske, 32, of Portland, OR, is also entered.
Athletes will be vying for a prize purse of more than $70,000, with the men’s and women’s winners each receiving $10,000.