The New York Road Runners announced yesterday that Brian Sell was the first athlete to enter the USA Men's Marathon Championship, a race within a race at the 2009 ING New York City Marathon set for Sunday, November 1.
Sell, 31, of Rochester Hills, Mich., finished third at the 2008 USA Olympic Trials Marathon held in New York's Central Park, but this will be the first time he will run the ING New York City Marathon. In addition to the usual prize money on offer, the Road Runners have put up a special $150,000 prize money purse for the championship. Sell, like the dozens of other Americans who will eventually enter, will be competing hard for the $40,000 first prize.
"I felt lightning in a bottle in the Olympic Trials in New York and I'd like to do it again," said Sell through a news release. "I have had good races in New York. From the 8-K to the Olympic Trials, it's always been a good spot for me, so I hopefully I can have another strong race in 2009."
Sell has a marathon personal best of 2:10:47 set in Chicago in 2006 where he finished sixth. He ran a similar time at Boston earlier that year where he was fourth in 2:10:55. Coached by Kevin and Keith Hanson, Sell is renowned for his work ethic, which paid its biggest dividend at the 2008 Trials when he ran 2:11:40 on the hilly Central Park course. At the Beijing Olympics, he finished a solid 22nd in 2:16:07.
This will be the second time that the ING New York City Marathon has hosted the USA Men's Marathon Championship. The last time was in 2001 (when the race also hosted the women's national championship), and it was a particularly emotional event since it came in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Indeed, smoke could be seen rising from Ground Zero when the race started. Scott Larson of Boulder, Colo., won the men's title that year and finished 13th overall in the marathon.
"It is extra special for us to have the men's championship back here in New York as we celebrate the 40th running of the New York City Marathon,” said New York Road Runners president and CEO, Mary Wittenberg. "Brian is a great first headliner to the strong field we expect to have on November 1."
The ING New York City Marathon is the world's largest marathon. Over 100,000 people apply for entry, with some 39,000 reaching the finish line next to Tavern on the Green in Central Park.