Martin Lel salutes his New York win (Getty Images) © Copyright
Defending champion and double Olympic gold medallist Derartu Tulu hopes to continue her success in this IAAF Gold Label Road Race when she returns to toe the line.
Four-time Boston Marathon champion Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot and two-time NYC runner-up Abderrahim Goumri will join Lel, dos Santos, previously announced Marathon World record holder Haile Gebreselassie, and defending champion Meb Keflezighi in the men’s division. On the women’s side, 2000 New York City Marathon winner Ludmila Petrova will race against Tulu, as well as American Olympic medalist Shalane Flanagan in her marathon debut, Mara Yamauchi of Great Britain, and reigning World Half Marathon Champion Mary Keitany of Kenya.
Any repeat winner of the ING New York City Marathon earns a $200,000 first-place prize, the largest first-place road racing prize within the United States or the World Marathon Majors.
“It’s so inspiring to see many of our past champions coming back to the stage where they once were victorious,” said New York Road Runners president and CEO and race director Mary Wittenberg. “They have been an inspiration to runners and spectators from around the world.”
Lel, 31, of Kenya, is one of the winningest athletes at the marathon distance. A two-time champion in New York City (2003, 2007), Lel is also a three-time champion of the London Marathon, where he set his marathon personal best in 2008 of 2:05:15. Lel came in fifth at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Marathon. In 2010, he won the Rock ’N Roll Mardi Gras Half Marathon in New Orleans.
Dos Santos, 33, of Brazil, is the only South American champion in New York, winning in 2006 and 2008. Dos Santos holds numerous South American records, including the 5000m (13:19.43) and 10,000m (27:28.12) on the track, and in the Half Marathon (59:33).
Tulu, 38, of Ethiopia, has been on the running scene for many years, dating back to her first of four Olympics in 1992, when she won gold in the 10,000m and became the first black African woman to win Olympic gold in any event. Tulu also competed in the 1996, 2000, and 2004 Olympic Games and won another 10,000m gold in 2000. In 2009, Tulu was victorious in New York in a time of 2:28:52.
Other top contenders in the ING New York City Marathon:
Cheruiyot, 32, of Kenya, is a four-time champion of the Boston Marathon, with his most recent victory coming in 2008. He also won the 2006 Chicago Marathon. Cheruiyot finished second in New York City last year 2009 to Keflezighi in 2:09:56.
Goumri, 34, of Morocco, is a two-time Olympian who finished 20th in the marathon in Beijing. Goumri finished second in New York in 2008. More recently, he finished third at the 2010 ING Rock ’N Roll Philadelphia Half-Marathon in mid-September.
Henrick Ramaala, 38, of South Africa, is a two-time Olympian (2000 and 2004) and two-time World Championships medallist in the Half Marathon. Ramaala won the New York City Marathon in 2004, and finished second to Paul Tergat in 2005 in the closest finish in marathon history. The same year, he won the Mumbai Marathon.
James Kwambai, 27, of Kenya, is the third fastest man in history at the marathon distance, after finishing second at the 2009 Rotterdam Marathon in 2:04:27. He finished fifth in New York in 2007.
Petrova, 41, became the first Russian to win in New York when she triumphed in 2000. Twice an Olympian, Petrova finished eighth in the Marathon at the Athens Games. Petrova placed second in New York in both 2008 and 2009.
Organisers for the IAAF