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Trio of Defending Champions Announced for NYC Marathon

Eight-time
Olympic speed-skating medalist Apolo Anton Ohno will make his marathon debut in New
York on Sunday, November 6

 

 NYRR Live
at Opening Day broadcast from Columbus Circle featured hosts Bruce Beck, Al
Roker, and Cat Greenleaf  

 

Record number of
140,000 applications received; economic impact of last year’s race
announced at $340 million

  

New York, April
27, 2011
‰ÛÓOn ING New York City Marathon Opening Day 2011, New York
Road Runners president and CEO Mary Wittenberg announced the return of a trio
of champions on the broadcast of NYRR Live from Columbus Circle.
Headlining the field on Sunday, November 6, will be 2010 winners Gebre
Gebremariam of Ethiopia and Edna Kiplagat of Kenya and 2009 champion Meb
Keflezighi of the United States.

 

Keflezighi, the
first American to win the race since Alberto Salazar in 1982, was joined by
three-time U.S. Olympian Jen Rhines and eight-time Olympic speed skating
medalist Apolo Anton Ohno on the NYRR Live half-hour show hosted by Today
Show
personality Al Roker, veteran WNBC sportscaster Bruce Beck, and WNBC
reporter Cat Greenleaf. Both Rhines and Ohno were also announced by Wittenberg
for this year’s race, to be run on Sunday, November 6.

 

Seen on tv.nyrr.org,
NYRR Live was broadcast just steps from the famed marathon course
and featured a special drawing of entrants for the race, along with prizes and
giveaways to the live audience of several hundred. NYRR officials anticipate a
race-record 140,000 applicants, with a record 90,000 in the drawing for about
45,000 starting spots. At the end of the show, entrants will learn of their
acceptance status on the tv.nyrr.org website. 

 

The findings of a
NYRR study based on a survey of more than 1,000 participants from last
year’s race indicates a total economic impact of approximately $340
million for New York City, Wittenberg announced. This represents a 25-percent
jump since the last study, done in 2006, and was accompanied by a growth in the
charity program that raised more than $30 million in 2010.

 

“Opening day,
our launch to marathon season, is the starting line for our extended marathon
family of professionals like Meb, Gebre, Edna, and Jen, our celebrity stars
like Apolo, all the runners from around the country and the world who have
secured coveted spots in the race, and their friends, family, and fans, who are
now all on the road to the finish at the greatest day in running, the ING New
York City Marathon,” said Wittenberg.

 Keflezighi, 35, of
Mammoth Lakes, CA, is a New York favorite who will be running the race for
the seventh time and has showed remarkable consistency, with five top-10
finishes including his historic triumph in 2009 and last year’s
sixth-place finish as the top American. He’ll get extra attention this
year, as he’s looking to run both New York and the U.S. Olympic Marathon
Trials race in Houston in January 2012.  

 

“Marathons
are always challenging, but I’m challenging myself further with my goal
to run both the ING New York City Marathon 2011 and the 2012 U.S. Olympic
Marathon Trials,” said Keflezighi. “This timing and challenge
is very similar to 2004, when I won the silver medal at the Olympic Games and
was the runner-up in the ING New York City Marathon 70 days later. This
experience gives me, Coach Bob Larsen, and the rest of my team the confidence
to pursue the goal of winning the ING New York City Marathon again, and making
a third U.S. Olympic team.”

 

Keflezighi will
match up against the defending champion, Gebremariam, 26, of Ethiopia. Since
winning the ING New York City Marathon in 2 hours, 8 minutes, and 14 seconds,
Gebremariam has finished second at the NYC Half in March in a time of 1:00:25
and third at the Boston Marathon last week in a time of 2:04:53.

 

Ohno, 28, of
Seattle, is the most decorated USA Winter Olympian of all time, having skated
his way to two gold, two silver, and four bronze short-track speed skating
medals. He has already demonstrated his excellence off his skates by winning
the reality TV show Dancing with the Stars in 2007, but running his
first 26.2-mile race will be by far one of his biggest career challenges.

 

“Running a
marathon is something that I’ve never done, and I am super excited to
take on this incredible challenge,” said Ohno, who took up the challenge
by his fellow Subway® enthusiast Jared Fogle, who finished last
year’s ING New York City Marathon. “I hope my journey can serve as
an inspiration for others to meet their health goals, get their nutrition in
order, and ultimately make smarter lifestyle choices.”

 

Kiplagat, 31, of
Kenya, continued her success after her victory, taking second place at the NYC
Half in March in a time of 1:09:00. She finished third at the Virgin London
Marathon last week, running 2:20:46.

 

Rhines, 36, of
Mammoth Lakes, CA, is coming off a five-year marathon hiatus after finishing
fourth in the Rome Marathon on March 26, 2006. She competed in the 2004 Olympic
marathon, but has recently focused on shorter distances, including the 5000
meters, which she ran in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Rhines has already
won two national championships this year, claiming the half-marathon crown in
January and the 15K title last month.

 

“It is with
great excitement and anticipation that I return to the streets of New York this
fall,” said Rhines, who last ran New York in 2005. “My training
this year shows me that I am stronger than ever, and I will be ready to reach a
new personal best. I can’t wait to be fighting for a place on the podium
this November!”

 

New York Road Runners

Headquartered in
New York City, New York Road Runners is dedicated to advancing the sport of
running, enhancing health and fitness for all, and meeting our
community’s needs. Our goal is to use the expertise acquired in our
53-year history to empower all people to live fitter, healthier lives through
participation in our races, community events, instruction and training
resources, and youth programs.  Our races and other events draw more than
300,000 people each year. The ING New York City Marathon, NYRR’s
premier event, is the largest and most inclusive marathon in the world, attracting
the world’s top professional runners every year and raising $30.8 million
for charity in

 2010. NYRR’s
running-based youth programs, which currently serve more than 100,000 children
in hundreds of schools and community centers, promote children’s health
and fitness, character development, and personal achievement in underserved
communities. For more information, visit www.nyrr.org.

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