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Posted: July 14, 2009  : Add to Mixx! Subscribe to stories like this

(RWire) Athletics: Three Greats of Women's Running - Ndereba, Kastor and Kiplagat - to Headline Field at NYC Half-Marathon

Trio to meet for only fourth time in their careers on Sunday, August 16

NEW YORK - (July 14, 2009) - Three of the history's most dominant women's long-distance runners, defending champion and two-time Olympic medalist Catherine Ndereba of Kenya, 2004 Olympic bronze medalist Deena Kastor of Mammoth Lakes, CA, and half-marathon world record-holder Lornah Kiplagat of The Netherlands, will meet in New York on Sunday, August 16, to headline the NYC Half-Marathon, it was announced by New York Road Runners president and CEO Mary Wittenberg.

It will be only the fourth time in their illustrious careers that the three will run against one another and the first showdown since the ING New York City Marathon 2006. Among them, the three have won three Olympic medals, 12 World Championship medals and 11 World Marathon Majors races, and have set eight world records.

"It's always a privilege to bring headliners to NYC," said Wittenberg. "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. We welcome Catherine, Deena and Lornah with open arms."

U.S. marathon record holder and three-time Olympian Kastor, 36, will make her first return to New York since she could not compete in the NYRR New York Mini 10K in June due to inflammation in the same foot that she broke during the 2008 Olympic marathon in Beijing. The injury was a momentary setback to a strong 2009 comeback season for Kastor, who scored victories in the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle in March and the BUPA Great Edinburgh 10K Run in May.

"It is always exciting to return to New York and race against a competitive field of women," said Kastor. "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."

A specialist on the road and track, the Kenyan-born Kiplagat, 35, who now represents The Netherlands, is coming back from a knee injury that has sidelined her since the World's Best 10K in Puerto Rico on March 1 and also forced her out of the NYRR New York Mini 10K. Kiplagat currently holds the women's world record for the half-marathon distance in 1 hour, 6 minutes and 25 seconds, which she ran in Udine, Italy, in 2007.

"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. "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, who will turn 37 on July 21, represents Kenya and lives in Nairobi. She will be seeking her third NYC Half-Marathon title, after winning the inaugural race in 2006 and reclaiming the title last year. A two-time Olympic marathon silver medalist and a two-time marathon world champion, Ndereba will return to New York after finishing fourth at the NYRR New York Mini 10K in June.

"It is always very exciting to be back in New York, and I love the course of the NYC Half-Marathon," said Ndereba. "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."

Also announced were 2009 NYRR New York Mini 10K champion Rose Kosgei, 28, of Kenya who won the 2009 Hervis Prague Half-Marathon earlier this year. Three-time Hungarian Olympian Aniko Kalovics, 33, and 2009 Guadalajara Half-Marathon champion Genoveva Jelegat Kigen, 29, of Kenya will also compete.

On the American side, Emily Brown, 25, of Minneapolis, MN, who won the USA Cross Country Championship earlier this year, will make her half-marathon debut. Heidi Westerling, 29, of Acworth, NH, who claimed victory at the Vermont City Marathon and the New Bedford Half-Marathon this year, joins the field, along with Samia Akbar, 27, of Reston, VA, and Ilsa Paulson, 20, of New York, NY. Surprise runner-up at the USA Half-Marathon Championships Kelly Jaske, 32, of Portland, OR, is also entered.

Athletes will be vying for a prize purse of more than $70,000, with the men's and women's winners each receiving $10,000.

The NYC Half-Marathon continues to attract the world's leading professional athletes, in addition to a sold-out field of more than 10,000 recreational runners from around the world. Runners were admitted on a first-come, first-served basis, a change from the lottery entry process that was used in previous years. On a course designed to celebrate New York City, the NYC Half-Marathon will take runners on a loop through Central Park, down Seventh Avenue through Times Square, across 42nd Street, and along the expansive West Side Highway to Battery Park in the heart of the city's financial district, finishing with a view of the Statue of Liberty.

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