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Olympians Headline Strong European Presence at NYC Marathon

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Portugal’s Félix, Italy’s Genovese and Console prepare for November 7
race; wheelchair field to feature Switzerland’s Hug, Great Britain’s
Woods

NEW YORK – (September 27, 2010) – Swiss Olympian, national marathon record holder, and 2010 European Champion Viktor Röthlin and French marathon record holder and ING New York City Marathon 2009 third place finisher Christelle Daunay will lead a strong contingent of European contenders into the ING New York City Marathon 2010 on Sunday, November 7, it was announced by New York Road Runners president and CEO and race director Mary Wittenberg.

Ana Dulce Félix of Portugal and Italian Olympians Bruna Genovese and Rosaria Console were also announced, joining a women’s field that already features Olympians Shalane Flanagan of the United States, Mara Yamauchi of Great Britain, Kim Smith of New Zealand and reigning World Half-Marathon champion Mary Keitany of Kenya.

The last European woman’s champion in New York was two-time winner Jelena Prokopcuka of Latvia in 2005-06.

Röthlin will be up against world record holder Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia, defending race champion Meb Keflezighi and World Championships Half-Marathon bronze medalist Dathan Ritzenhein of the United States, and 2009 World Championships Marathon gold medalist Abel Kirui of Kenya as he bids to become the first men’s champion from Europe since Giacomo Leone of Italy in 1996.

Switzerland’s Marcel Hug and Shelly Woods of Great Britain were also announced for the wheelchair race.

“The Europeans are
poised to make a major statement about their legitimacy as a marathon
power,” said Wittenberg. “Viktor and Christelle are seasoned
competitors at the top of their games, and Ana is a newcomer to the
marathon with loads of promise. And the Italians always seem to do
something special here, so keep an eye on Rosaria and Bruna.”

Röthlin, 35, hopes to
build on his earlier success this year after winning the European
Athletics Championships marathon in August, which was his first major
race since his sixth-place finish at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Marathon.
He was out for the entire 2009 season, recuperating from a pulmonary
embolism and fluid buildup in his chest after contracting thrombosis
during a plane flight from Africa. The three-time Olympian took the
marathon bronze medal at the 2007 World Championships in Osaka, Japan,
and he won the 2008 Tokyo Marathon, setting the current Swiss marathon
record of 2 hours, 7 minutes, 23 seconds. He finished seventh in his
last appearance in New York, in 2005.

“I like New York
because it is a race like the European Championships, World
Championships and Olympics with no pacemakers; you race each other and
not against time,” said Röthlin. “I have always been strong in the last
part of a race, and you need to be very tough in Central Park. In the
past, some bad stories and good stories have been written in Central
Park. I hope to write a good one.”

Daunay, 35, was third
in New York last year in 2:29:16 and finished 20th at the Beijing
Olympic Marathon. She lowered her own French national marathon record
to 2:24:22 with a runner-up showing at the Paris Marathon this April.

Félix, 27, is one of
the top distance runners from Portugal and will make her marathon debut
in New York City. After a strong 2009 season, which included victories
at the Great Ireland Run (10K) and the Göteborgsvarvet Half-Marathon,
Félix has continued her success into 2010, including a runner-up finish
at the Great North Run last week.

Genovese, 34,
finished 10th at the 2004 Athens Olympic Marathon and was 17th in
Beijing. She set her personal best in 2006 at the Boston Marathon, when
she ran 2:25:28 to finish fourth.

Console, 30, competed
in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, where she finished 16th in the
marathon. She set her marathon personal best in 2009 at the real,-
Berlin Marathon, where she finished fourth in 2:26:45. Console won her
first marathon, the 2001 Padua Marathon.

Hug, 24, is one of
the world’s top young wheelchair athletes. In 2009, he had four
marathon victories and finished third at the ING New York City
Marathon. This year, Hug finished second at the Virgin London Marathon.
This will be his third ING New York City Marathon.

Woods, 24, set a
world record of 3:21.22 in the wheelchair 1500 meters at the Arbon WCR
Meeting in Ibach, Switzerland, in June. She has had three runner-up
finishes at the ING New York City Marathon, most recently last year,
when she lost to defending champion
Edith Hunkeler of Switzerland.

Hunkeler, a five-time
ING New York City Marathon champion, will not be back to defend her
title this November, as she gave birth to her first child, daughter
Elin, on September 14.

For more information, visit: www.INGnycmarathon.org

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