NEW YORK (14-Jul) -- With an even dozen individual world championships medals between them, American Deena Kastor, Dutchwoman Lornah Kiplagat, and Kenyan Catherine Ndereba are amongst the most accomplished distance runners in history, especially on the roads. They've recorded victories throughout the world (Ndereba alone has 123 career wins), but have faced each other in the same race together on only three occasions. They'll get another chance, perhaps their last, at the fourth edition of the NYC Half-Marathon here, set for Sunday, August 16.
"It's always a privilege to bring headliners to NYC," said New York Road Runners' president and CEO Mary Wittenberg, who directs the race. "Three of our sport's best ever will join us for this year's NYC Half. That's like hitting a home run before the game begins."
Kastor, 36, from Mammoth Lakes, Calif., is the only American woman to ever break 2:20 for the marathon. In addition, she holds USA records for 5 km, 12 km+, 15 km, 20 km+ and the half-marathon. The Olympic marathon bronze medalist in 2004, Kastor also has two IAAF World Cross Country Championships individual silver medals. Her half-marathon personal best is 1:07:34.
"It is always exciting to return to New York and race against a competitive field of women," said Kastor through a statement. "The NYC Half-Marathon is renowned among elite athletes wishing to compete at this distance, and this year it will showcase another stellar field in which I'm anxious to compete."
The Kenyan-born Kiplagat, 35, has four world titles to her credit, and holds the IAAF world records for 20 km (1:02:57) and the half-marathon (1:06:25). A four-time winner of the NYRR New York Mini 10-K, Kiplagat, like Kastor, will be making her first appearance at the NYC Half-Marathon.
"I am very excited to run in the NYC Half-Marathon, as it will be my first half-marathon in the United States," said Kiplagat who lives in Groet. "New York City feels like home and it's always nice to race at home. I'm also looking forward to the strong competition."
Ndereba, the two-time marathon world champion who will turn 37 on July 21, perhaps comes into the race with a slight advantage. She's the course record holder (1:09:42, 2007) and has won the event twice in three starts. Although mainly known as a marathoner, the Nairobi resident has 19 career half-marathon victories.
"It is always very exciting to be back in New York, and I love the course of the NYC Half-Marathon," Ndereba commented. "New York Road Runners always hosts us so well, and the competition is always the best. I am looking forward to a great competition running against Deena and Lornah. It is always my great pleasure to run against the best ladies."
Wittenberg also announced that 2009 NYRR New York Mini 10-K champion Rose Kosgei of Kenya (1:09:03 half-marathon PB), three-time Hungarian Olympian Aniko Kalovics (1:08:58), 2009 Guadalajara Half-Marathon champion Genoveva Jelagat Kigen of Kenya (1:09:42), and 2009 New Bedford Half-Marathon champion Heidi Westerling of Acworth, N.H. (1:11:35) would also be competing.
They NYC Half-Marathon begins in Manhattan's Central Park on the Upper East Side. Athletes run a shady, but hilly, loop of the park (10 km) before heading south and into the city streets. The course runs south on Seventh Avenue and into Times Square, before heading west on 42nd Street, then south again near the Hudson River to the finish line on West Street just north of Battery Park. A prize money purse of $70,000 is on offer with $10,000 going to the men's and women's winners.
Last year's race had a record 10,506 finishers.