NYC Half Announces Elite US, Int’l Men’s Field

Elite American and International Men’s Fields Announced for 2015 United Airlines NYC Half

New York Road Runners

February 20, 2015

silver medalist Meb Keflezighi and three-time Olympian Dathan
Ritzenhein will lead the American charge, while top returning entrant
Stephen Sambu and distance running star Wesley Korir, both of Kenya,
headline a deep and diverse international lineup


NEW YORK ‰ÛÓ Defending Boston Marathon champion Meb Keflezighi and compatriot Dathan Ritzenhein, running the half-marathon distance for the first time since the 2013 NYC Half, will lead a resilient field of American men against a strong international contingent highlighted by last year’s third-place finisher Stephen Sambu and 2012 Boston Marathon champion Wesley Korir at the 2015 United Airlines NYC Half on Sunday, March 15, 2015, it was announced this week by Mary Wittenberg, president and CEO of New York Road Runners.


“From Meb and Dathan to Stephen and Wesley, the 2015 United Airlines
NYC Half professional men’s field is one of our best ever,” said
Wittenberg. “We’re especially excited that our lead group of men will be
running alongside the many young runners who will be participating in
the event’s inaugural NYRR Times Square Kids’ Run on Seventh Avenue,
creating an inspiring and unique moment that will help us celebrate the
tenth running of the race.”


Keflezighi, 39, of San Diego, CA, is one of the most decorated
American marathoners of all-time with thrilling victories at the 2014
Boston Marathon and the 2009 New York City Marathon and a silver medal
at the 2004 Olympic Games. This past fall, the three-time Olympian took
fourth place at the TCS New York City Marathon, his seventh top-10
finish at the race. At the 2012 Olympic Games in the marathon, he took
fourth place; his 2004 and 2012 Olympic Games performances are the only
top-five finishes by an American man in the event since 1976. The former
American record-holder at 10,000 meters and second-place finisher at
the 2006 NYC Half has won more than 20 national championships in track
and field, cross country, and road racing. He will attempt to defend his
Boston Marathon title in April.


“It is always a thrill and an honor to compete in New York City, and
NYRR has been the most consistent supporter of my running career,” said
Keflezighi. “As I train to defend my Boston Marathon title in April,
there is no better race to prepare than the United Airlines NYC Half.”


Ritzenhein, 32, is one of the best American half-marathon runners in
history. He took home the bronze medal at the 2009 IAAF World
Half-Marathon Championships with a time of 1:00:00, becoming the first
American medalist at this event; his time is the second-fastest American
performance ever, and he is the only American to run under 1:01:00 more
than once. The former 5000-meter American record-holder and three-time
Olympian finished third twice at the NYC Half (2008, 2013) and won the
2007 UAE Healthy Kidney 10K. He was the top American at the 2009 Olympic
marathon, finishing ninth. The three-time national cross country
champion (2005, 2008, 2009) owns a marathon personal best of 2:07:47,
set at the 2012 Chicago Marathon. He will join Keflezighi at the Boston
Marathon in April.


Sambu, 26, of Kenya, is the top returner from last year’s NYC Half,
where he finished third with a time of 1:01:18, improving upon his
seventh-place performance in 2013. At the 2014 B.A.A. 10K, the nine-time
Division I NCAA All-American successfully defended his title, clocking a
time of 27:25‰ÛÓthe world’s fastest road 10K of the year. The 2013 and
2014 B.A.A. Distance Medley Champion won the 2014 UAE Healthy Kidney 10K
by nearly 40 seconds with a time of 27:39, missing the event record by
just four seconds; he finished third in the same event in 2013. At the
2013 NYC Half, he lowered his half-marathon personal best at the time by
almost two-and-a-half minutes, and that fall he improved nearly another
minute to his current personal best of 1:00:41 when he finished third
at the B.A.A. Half-Marathon.


“During 2014, I became a more comfortable road racer,” said Sambu. “I
love NYRR events and I hope to improve on my third place finish. 2015
marks my third year as a professional runner. I’m confident, as I have a
tremendous coach in James Li. Last year, I managed to record personal
bests for 5K, 8K, 10K, and 10 miles on the road and 10,000 meters on the
track. My goals in 2015 are to improve, win, and set myself up for a
2016 marathon debut. It was a blast to watch the 2014 TCS New York City
Marathon up close [on the press truck].”


Korir, 32, of Kenya, is the 2012 Boston Marathon champion and a
two-time winner of the Los Angeles Marathon (2009, 2010). He recorded
top-five finishes three times at the Chicago Marathon (2010: fourth,
2011: second, 2012: fifth) and two times at the Boston Marathon (2013:
fifth) including his 2012 victory; he set his personal best of 2:06:13
at Chicago in 2012. A year after running his half-marathon personal best
of 1:01:19 to finish fourth at the 2012 NYC Half, he was elected to the
National Assembly (Kenyan Parliament). In his role, he has been
instrumental in rebuilding Kenya through humanitarian efforts while
continuing to train and race at a high level.


The 2015 United Airlines NYC Half will air live in New York on ABC7 and WatchABC from 7:00-9:00 a.m. EST and on 7online from 7:00-10:30 a.m.
Outside of the New York area, coverage will also be available on ESPN3
via WatchESPN from 7:00-10:30 a.m. on computers, tablets, smartphones,
Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox 360
and Xbox One for those who have video or internet subscriptions from
affiliated providers. International viewers can watch the broadcast from
7:00-9:00 a.m. EST via a variety of global broadcast partners
(international viewers should check local listings).


Additional Top Athlete Backgrounds and Notable Performances


·         Matt Tegenkamp,
33, of Portland, OR, is a two-time Olympian (2008, 2012) and the
two-mile American record-holder. The six-time USA champion was the
fourth American in history to break 13 minutes in the 5,000 meters and
he finished fourth at the 2007 IAAF Outdoor Track and Field
Championships at that distance. He was the top American at the 2014 NYC
Half with a debut time of 1:02:04 and he placed 10th in his marathon
debut at the 2013 Chicago Marathon.

·         Chris Solinsky,
30, of Williamsburg, VA, became the first non-African to break 27
minutes in the 10,000 meters in 2010 with a time of 26:59.60, a new
American record by 14 seconds and a North American record by nine
seconds. The five-time Division I NCAA champion and fourteen-time
All-American is the second-fastest American ever in the 5000 meters with
a personal best of 12:55.53. The 2015 United Airlines NYC Half will be
his debut at the distance.

·         Andrew Bumbalough,
28, of Portland, OR, is the 2013 USA 5K champion and a five-time
national team member for the United States, including the 5000 meters at
the 2011 IAAF World Outdoor Track and Field Championships. In 2014, the
eight-time Division I All-American ran under the 2000-meter American
record at the NYRR Millrose Games and finished second in the 5000 meters
at the 2014 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The 2015 United
Airlines NYC Half will be his half-marathon debut.

·         Abdi Abdirahman,
38, of Tucson, AZ, qualified for his fourth U.S. Olympic team in 2012,
his first team in the marathon. The 2012 USA Half-Marathon champion
finished third in the 2006 NYC Half and second at the same event one
year later; his time of 1:00:27 is the fastest time ever run by an
American in New York. He is the only American to have run in three
consecutive 10,000-meter Olympic finals and he has placed in the top 10
three times at the New York City Marathon, finishing a career-high of
fifth in 2005.

·         Juan Luis Barrios,
31, of Mexico, is a two-time 5000-meter Olympian, finishing seventh in
2008 and eighth in 2012. The 2011 Pan American Games 5000-meter gold
medalist took fifth in the 2013 NYC Half and improved to fourth  at the
same event in 2014. At the recent 2015 Marugame Half-Marathon, he
finished fifth with a personal best of 1:00:46.

·         Lusapho April,
32, of South Africa, finished third at the 2013 New York City Marathon,
the first podium finish from a South African since Hendrick Ramaala took
third in 2007. Earlier that spring, the 2012 Olympian set a marathon
personal best and course record of 2:08:32 at the Hanover Marathon. He
represented his country at the 2014 IAAF Half-Marathon Championships,
finishing 15th with a personal best of 1:01:16, and owns the 25K
national record of 1:15:02, set in 2010.

·         Leonard Korir,
28, of Kenya, was a two-time Division I NCAA Champion and eight-time
All-American at the tri-state area’s Iona College. He finished third at
the 2014 B.A.A. Half-Marathon with a time of 1:01:50, contributing to
his third-place finish overall in the 2014 B.A.A. Distance Medley. The
2012 UAE Healthy Kidney 10K runner-up finished fourth at the 2013 NYC
Half with a personal best 1:01:19.

·         Arne Gabius,
33, of Germany, is the 2012 European Championships 5000-meter silver
medalist and 11-time national champion. In his marathon debut at the BMW
Frankfurt Marathon, he finished ninth with a time of 2:09:32, making
him the fourth-fastest German ever; he is the first German in 24 years
to run under 2:10:00. Last year, the 2012 Olympian and four-time IAAF
World Championships (two indoors, two outdoors) qualifier finished
eighth at the NYC Half.

·         Koki Takada, 21, and Takashi Ichida,
22, of Japan, both qualified for the 2015 United Airlines NYC Half by
placing first and second, respectively, at the 2014 Ageo City
Half-Marathon, the deepest half-marathon in the world. Takada stopped
Ichida’s title defense with a personal best of 1:02:02, the
third-fastest winning time in race history. Both were teammates at
Kagoshima Jitsugyo High School where they won the 2010 National High
School Ekiden Championships.


Top American Professional Men


Personal Best Half-Marathon

Twitter Handle

Dathan Ritzenhein



Abdi Abdirahman



Meb Keflezighi



Fernando Cabada



Matt Tegenkamp



Brett Gotcher


Jeffrey Eggleston



Andrew Bumbalough



Chris Solinsky




Top International Professional Men


Personal Best Half-Marathon

Twitter Handle

Stephen Sambu, KEN



Juan Luis Barrios, MEX



Lusapho April, RSA



Leonard Korir, KEN


Wesley Korir, KEN



Kevin Chelimo, KEN


Koki Takada, JPN



Takashi Ichida, JPN



Arne Gabius, GER



Marcin Chabowski, POL



New this year at the United Airlines NYC Half is the NYRR Times Square Kids’ Run‰ÛÓa
1500-meter out-and-back road race on Seventh Avenue for children ages 7
to 18 that starts and ends in Times Square.  An expected 1,000 kids,
including 700 of NYRR’s Young Runners, will compete in the high school,
middle school, and elementary school divisions alongside the runners in
the United Airlines NYC Half.


A total of 20,828 runners crossed the finish line of the 2014 NYC
Half, making it the largest NYC Half yet. Runners from more than 65
countries and all 50 states participated. Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya won
the men’s race with a time of 1:00:50, and Sally Kipyego won the women’s
race with an event-record time of 1:08:31.


About the United Airlines NYC Half

Founded in 1958, New York Road Runners has grown from a local running
club to the world’s premier community running organization, whose
mission is to help and inspire people through running. The United
Airlines NYC Half is NYRR’s signature half-marathon, and the opening
event of the NYRR Five-Borough Series. The race features a talented
American and international professional athlete field, competitive,
recreational, and charity runners, some 1,500 volunteers and thousands
of spectators. The event offers the quintessential New York experience‰ÛÓa
13.1-mile tour of the Big Apple like no other‰ÛÓfrom the rolling hills of
Central Park, up to Harlem, down through Times Square, along the Hudson
River waterfront, to a finish in lower Manhattan. United Airlines, New
York area’s largest airline, is the title sponsor of the United Airlines
NYC Half and an NYRR foundation partner. To learn more, visit

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