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Posted: July 31, 2009  :

(RRW) Athletics: NYC Half Attracts World Championships Medalists

From David Monti

© 2009 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved RaceResultsWeekly.com

The fourth edition of the New York City Half-Marathon on Sunday, Aug. 16, has attracted some of the world's best male athletes, including three world championships medalists and four men who have broken the one-hour barrier for the standard 21,097m half-marathon distance.

The defending champion, Tadese Tola of Ethiopia (1:00:58 PB), will have his hands full with the two-time World Half-Marathon Championships silver medalist Patrick Makau, the second-fastest half-marathoner of all time with a 58:52 personal best. Also in the battle for the title should be two-time world marathon champion Jaouad Gharib of Morocco (59:56 PB) and two-time IAAF World Half-Marathon Championships silver medalist Hendrick Ramaala of South Africa (59:20 PB). American Ryan Hall, who was previously announced by race organizers, is also in the field (59:43 PB), as is three-time Olympian Abdi Abdirahman (1:00:29 PB).

"This is a glittering lineup of the world's best emerging stars like Tola, Makau, and Hall, side by side with ageless veterans like Ramaala, Abdi, and Gharib," said New York Road Runners president and CEO, Mary Wittenberg, who directs the race. "It should be a fast and furious race through the streets of Manhattan."

Last year, Tola, 21, edged Makau in the final meters to win by one second. Tola will make his first trip to New York since running the fastest 10-K ever recorded in Central Park last May at the Healthy Kidney 10-K; he clocked 27:48. Makau also ran in the Healthy Kidney 10-K, and finished second.

Gharib, 37, will be making his New York City debut. He won the silver medal at last August's Olympic Marathon in Beijing. He won the world marathon titles in 2003 in Paris and 2005 in Helsinki.

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. Organizers expect 10,000 runners to complete the race from Central Park to Battery Park.


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