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Posted: October 1, 2009  : Add to Mixx! Subscribe to stories like this

(RWire) Athletics: Olympians Keflezighi, Abdirahman Headline U.S. Standouts in the ING New York City Marathon

2008 Olympian Jorge Torres to make marathon debut; Lehmkuhle, Asmerom, Gilmore and Lewy-Boulet also entered as part of strong U.S. line-up at the 40th running

NEW YORK - (September 29, 2009) - The 2004 Olympic Marathon silver medalist and the ING New York City Marathon 2004 runner-up, Meb Keflezighi, will be joined by three-time Olympian Abdi Abdirahman and marathon rookie Jorge Torres to lead a strong line-up of Americans entered in the ING New York City Marathon 2009 on Sunday, November 1, it was announced by New York Road Runners president and CEO and race director Mary Wittenberg.

Jason Lehmkuhle, Bolota Asmerom, Peter Gilmore and Magdalena Lewy-Boulet were also announced. Previously announced were Olympians Ryan Hall and Brian Sell, both making ING New York City Marathon debuts. In conjunction with the ING New York City Marathon, New York Road Runners will host the 2009 USA Men's Marathon Championship and offer a special USA Championship-only prize purse of $150,000.

"This is the finest gathering of America's marathoners since the Olympic Trials race here in 2007," said Wittenberg. "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 and Bolota. Look for red, white and blue to figure prominently from start to finish."

Keflezighi, 34, of San Diego, CA, has been on the podium twice at the ING New York City Marathon, with a runner-up finish in 2004 and a third-place showing in 2005. A three-time national 10,000 meter champion (2000, '02, '04), Keflezighi holds the U.S. record at that distance (27:13.98). Earlier this year, the UCLA grad posted a personal-best time of 2:09:21 at the Flora London Marathon and captured the USA Half-Marathon Championships title in Houston.

"I look forward to competing for the chance to earn my 20th USA Championship against the amazing field," said Keflezighi. "To achieve this milestone in the Big Apple would mean a lot to me."

Abdirahman, 32, of Tucson, AZ, will be making his fourth appearance in New York after finishing 14th in 2004, fifth in 2005, and sixth in 2008. A four-time national champion at 10,000 meters, Abdirahman returns to New York after finishing fourth in the NYC Half-Marathon in 1:02:51.

Torres, 29, of Boulder, CO, will be making his marathon debut in New York after much success at the 5000 meter and 10,000 meter distances. In 2008, he finished third in the 10,000 meters at the U.S. Olympic Trials to secure his first Olympic appearance, and finished second at the USA Cross Country Championships. Torres placed fourth at the USA Cross Country Championships this year.

Lehmkuhle, 31, of Minneapolis, MN, finished eighth at last year's ING New York City Marathon, and he was fifth in a personal-best time of 2:12:54 at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Men's Marathon in New York in 2007. In 2008, Lehmkuhle finished second in the USA Half-Marathon Championships. This year, he was eighth at the USA 15K Championships and third at the USA 20K Championships.

The 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Women's Marathon runner-up, Lewy-Boulet, 36, of Oakland, CA, will be making her fourth appearance at the ING New York City Marathon after finishing eighth in 2008 in 2:33:56. Earlier this year, Lewy-Boulet captured the USA Half-Marathon title in Houston finishing in 1:11:47.

Asmerom, 30, of Oakland, CA, made his marathon debut last year at the ING New York City Marathon and finished 10th in 2:16:37. He competed in the 2000 Olympic Games for his native Eritrea in the 5000 meters.

Gilmore, 32, of San Mateo, CA, set a personal record of 2:12:45 at the 2006 Boston Marathon, and he was the top American finisher in the ING New York City Marathon 2006 in a time of 2:13:13.

Athletes will be vying for a total guaranteed prize purse of $800,000, the largest in race history. In celebration of the 40th running of the New York City Marathon, a new champion's bonus of $70,000 will be awarded to any past champion who wins this year, bringing a former champion's first-place prize this year to $200,000.

The premier event of New York Road Runners, the ING New York City Marathon is one of the world's great road races, drawing nearly 105,000 applicants. The race attracts many world-class professional athletes, not only for the more than $600,000 in prize money, but also for the chance to excel in the media capital of the world before two million cheering spectators and a worldwide broadcast reach of 330 million. As any one of the nearly 788,000 past participants will attest, crossing the finish line in Central Park is one of the great thrills of a lifetime. For more information, visit:

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