30 JUL 2009 General News New York, USA

Tola, Makau, Abdirahman, Ramaala, and Gharib join New York Half-Marathon field

Patrick Makau winning the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon (Victah Sailer)Patrick Makau winning the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon (Victah Sailer) © Copyright
Some of the world’s best longdistance runners, including defending champion Tadese Tola of Ethiopia, two-time IAAF World Half-Marathon Championships silver medalist Patrick Makau of Kenya, three-time 10,000m Olympian Abdi Abdirahman of the United States, ING New York City Marathon 2004 winner Hendrick Ramaala of South Africa, and 2008 Olympic marathon silver medalist and two-time World Marathon champion Jaouad Gharib of Morocco, will duel on the streets of Manhattan at the NYC Half-Marathon on Sunday, 16 August, it was announced today by New York Road Runners president and CEO Mary Wittenberg. 

Previously announced for the fourth annual 13.1-mile race was top American marathoner and 2008 Olympian Ryan Hall, 26, of Mammoth Lakes, CA, who will make his NYC Half-Marathon debut.

“This is a glittering lineup of the world’s best emerging stars like Tola, Makau, and Hall, side by side with ageless veterans like Ramaala, Abdi, and Gharib,” said Wittenberg. “It should be a fast and furious race through the streets of Manhattan.”

A trio of the sport’s all-time greats—defending champion and two-time Olympic medalist Catherine Ndereba of Kenya, 2004 Olympic bronze medalist Deena Kastor of the U.S., and half-marathon world record-holder Lornah Kiplagat of the Netherlands—headline the women’s field.

Tola, 21, edged Kenya’s Patrick Makau in the final meters to win by one second in last year’s NYC Half-Marathon, finishing in 1:00:58. Tola will make his first trip to New York since running the fastest 10K ever recorded in Central Park at the 2009 Healthy Kidney 10K in a time of 27:48. 

Makau, 24, held on to finish second at the Healthy Kidney 10K in 28:28, nine seconds slower than his winning performance the previous year. Earlier this year, Makau ran the second-fastest half-marathon ever (58:52) at the Ras Al Khaimah Half-Marathon and made his marathon debut at the Fortis Rotterdam Marathon in April, finishing fourth in a time of 2:06:14.

Abdirahman, 32, of Tucson, AZ, will return to New York after running the Healthy Kidney 10K, where he finished 11th in 29:02 coming off of a knee injury. A four-time USA champion at 10,000 meters, he qualified for his third Olympic team by winning the 10,000 meters at the 2008 Olympic Team Trials – Track & Field and finished 15th in the event (27:52.53) at the Beijing Olympic Games. Abdirahman made his third appearance at the ING New York City Marathon last November and finished in sixth place (2:14:17).

The only man to ever win two World Championships marathon titles, Gharib, 37, of Morocco, who finished third at the London Marathon earlier this year in a Moroccan record time of 2:05:27, and four-time Olympian Ramaala, 37, who holds several South African records, including 59:20 for the half-marathon, will also compete.

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.

A one-hour same-day highlights show of the race will air from 11:35 p.m. until 12:35 a.m. on WABC-TV, Channel 7, in New York City.

New York Road Runners