An already deep professional field just got deeper. New York Road Runners today announced that reigning Boston Marathon champions Geoffrey Mutai and Caroline Kilel and 2011 Virgin London Marathon champion Mary Keitany will run the ING New York City Marathon on November 6. Joining those outstanding Kenyans will also be Ethiopian Olympic and World Championships medalist Tsegaye Kebede.
Mutai and Kebede will join an already stellar field of runners in the men’s competition, including reigning New York City champion Gebre Gebremariam of Ethiopia, 2009 champion Meb Keflezighi of the U.S., and reigning Virgin London Marathon champion Emmanuel Mutai of Kenya. Two-time New York City Marathon champion Martin Lel, previously announced to run, was forced to withdraw due to injury.
Mutai, 29, won the 2011 Boston Marathon in a world best time of 2:03:02; it was the fastest time ever recorded for a certified marathon, but not a world record because of the nature of the Boston course. The current world record is 2:03:38, run by Patrick Makau of Kenya at the Berlin Marathon on Sept. 25, 2011.
Kebede, 24, won the Fukuoka Marathon in 2008 and 2009, Paris in 2008 and London in 2010. He also owns a pair of marathon bronze medals from the 2008 Olympics and the 2009 World Championships. Kebede battled the late Sammy Wanjiru at the 2010 Chicago Marathon in one of the most epic marathon finishes in history, placing second. He has a 2:05:18 personal best, and will be making his ING New York City Marathon debut.
In the women’s race, Keitany and Kilel will join defending champion and 2011 World Champion Edna Kiplagat of Kenya, New Zealand Olympian Kim Smith, Jo Pavey of Great Britain, and Americans Lauren Fleshman and Molly Pritz, who will make their marathon debuts.
Keitany, 29, won the 2011 Virgin London Marathon in a personal best time of 2:19:19, the fastest time in the world this year. She finished third at the ING New York City Marathon last year and is also the half-marathon and 25K world record holder.
Kilel, 30, won the 2011 Boston Marathon by two seconds after a showdown in the final stretch with American Desiree Davila. She also owns a half-marathon World Championships gold medal.
The ING New York City Marathon is organized by New York Road Runners. The professional women will race at 9:10 a.m. and the professional men will start at 9:40 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 6.
Karla Bruning is an award-winning journalist and running nerd. She has completed four marathons, trains with the New York Harriers and is a member of New York Road Runners. Follow Karla’s “Notes From a Running Nerd” at RunKarlaRun.com, Facebook and Twitter@KBruning.