NEW YORK (29-Sep) -- Olympic medalist Meb Keflezighi and three-time Olympian Abdi Abdirahman will compete in the USA Men's Marathon Championship at the ING New York City Marathon on Nov. 1, joining fellow Olympians Ryan Hall and Brian Sell who had previously committed to the race. These four athletes, who will be competing simultaneously for the overall ING New York City Marathon and national championship titles, represent the core of the strongest USA men's field ever assembled for the international marathon in New York, the world's largest.
"This is the finest gathering of America's marathoners since the Olympic Trials race here in 2007," said New York Road Runners' president and CEO Mary Wittenberg through a media release. "I love the potent mix of Americans, which should give confidence to each of them. We'll have the veterans—Meb, Abdi, Ryan, and Brian—and the most significant debutant in three years, Jorge Torres, with a supporting cast seeking to break through, including Jason Lehmkuhle and Bolota Asmerom. Look for red, white, and blue to figure prominently from start to finish."
Keflezighi, 34, of San Diego, Calif., was the Olympic Marathon silver medalist in Athens in 2004. He's been on the comeback trail for the past 12 months from a hip injury, winning the 2009 USA titles at the half-marathon, cross country and seven miles. He also lowered his marathon personal best to 2:09:21 in London last April. Keflezighi has twice placed in the top-3 in New York: second in 2004 and third in 2005.
"I look forward to competing for the chance to earn my 20th USA championship against the amazing field," Keflezighi commented. "To achieve this milestone in the Big Apple would mean a lot to me."
Abdirahman, 32, of Tucson, Ariz., has a 2:08:56 marathon personal best set in Chicago in 2006. He's run New York three times, and finished sixth in last year's race. Torres, 29, of Boulder, Colo., was a Beijing Olympian at 10,000m, and has a personal best for that distance of 27:42.91. He's coached by former NYCM champion Steve Jones. Lehmkuhle, 31, of Minneapolis, Minn., ran his best time of 2:12:54 at the Olympic Trials in New York in 2007. Asmerom, 30, of Oakland, Calif., completed his first career marathon last year in New York, clocking 2:16:37.
USA men will be competing for a special $150,000 prize money purse ($40,000 for the USA title), part of an overall purse of $800,000, the largest in the history of the event which will celebrate it's 40th running this year.