Pros will lead the way for 1,000 youth runners participating in the NYRR Times Square Kids’ Run alongside the 13.1-mile course
Race will air live in the New York area on WABC-TV, Channel 7
New York, February 8, 2016—American distance star and the defending champion, Molly Huddle, and the 5K American record-holder, Ben True, will headline distinguished women’s and men’s fields at the 2016 United Airlines NYC Half, set for Sunday, March 20, it was announced today by Peter Ciaccia, president of events for New York Road Runners and the race director of the TCS New York City Marathon.
"We’re thrilled to welcome Molly and Ben—two of America’s greatest distance runners—to the world-famous streets of Manhattan as they headline our premier professional athlete field," said Ciaccia. "Molly made history last year as the race’s first-ever American winner, and after the stellar year she’s had, we look forward to another epic race from her. Ben made his mark in the NYRR record books last spring when he became the first American since 2007 to take the UAE Healthy Kidney 10K title, and we know his first United Airlines NYC Half this year will be one to remember."
Huddle, 31, of Providence, RI, is the women’s defending champion, and last year became the first American winner in the 10-year history of the race and tied the course record with a 1:08:31 victory. Her mark was also an American record for an all-women’s race. She debuted at the half-marathon distance in the 2014 NYC Half, where she finished third with a time 1:09:04. In 2015, Huddle won a total of six national titles: 5K, 10K, 12K, 10-mile, and 20K on the road and 10,000m on the track. At the 2015 Beijing IAAF World Championships, Huddle finished fourth in the 10,000 meters. In 2014, she made history at the NYRR New York Mini 10K, where she set the American all-women’s 10K record and became the first American champion since 2004. Her dominant streak continued in 2014, when she lowered her own 5000-meter American record by two seconds to 14:42.64 at the Herculis Diamond League in Monaco. The 2012 Olympian and 21-time national champion has claimed the USA Running Circuit series title three times, in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
"I look forward to returning to the United Airlines NYC Half to test how this winter's strength work has gone," said Huddle. "The strong field will be challenging, but I hope to start off the Olympic year on a high note, and to return to New York City for a few more races along the road to Rio!"
True, 30, of Hanover, NH, is the 5K American record-holder. In 2015, he became the first American to take the UAE Healthy Kidney 10K title since Dathan Ritzenhein’s victory in 2007. That year he also won the B.A.A. 5K with an American record time of 13:22 and the 5K at the Adidas Grand Prix, the first win in a Diamond League 5000-meter race by an American man. Later that summer, he finished fifth in the 5000 meters at the IAAF World Championships. He has won seven national titles on the road at 5K, 10K, 15K, and 10 miles and was the top American at the 2011 and 2013 IAAF World Cross Country Championships, finishing 35th and sixth place, respectively.
"The New York Road Runners always put on the best races in the world," said True. "The energy and hospitality of the NYRR is second to none. I am very excited to run my first half marathon in the Big Apple; New York City was great to me last year, and here's to hoping the trend continues!"
The 2016 United Airlines NYC Half, set for Sunday, March 20, will feature 20,000 runners in the 13.1-mile race. For the second consecutive year, the free NYRR Times Square Kids’ Run at the United Airlines NYC Half will feature 1,000 students, many from NYRR’s free youth running programs, in a 1500-meter out-and-back race along Seventh Avenue and through Times Square. The race takes place simultaneously alongside the United Airlines NYC Half route.
"Molly and Ben will pave the way on great New York City streets at the United Airlines NYC Half for 20,000 runners of all ages and abilities, and serve as role models for 1,000 of our youngest running stars participating in the NYRR Times Square Kids’ Run" said Michal Capiraso, president and CEO of New York Road Runners.
The 2015 United Airlines NYC Half had 19,454 finishers from nearly all 50 states and at least 67 countries. For the first time ever, the NYRR Times Square Kids’ Run at the United Airlines NYC Half gave hundreds of kids the opportunity to participate in a race of their own.
About the United Airlines NYC Half
Founded in 1958, New York Road Runners has grown from a local running club to the world’s premier community running organization, whose mission is to help and inspire people through running. The United Airlines NYC Half is NYRR’s signature half-marathon, and the opening event of the NYRR Five-Borough Series. The race features a talented American and international professional athlete field, competitive, recreational, and charity runners, some 1,500 volunteers and thousands of spectators. The event offers the quintessential New York experience—a 13.1-mile tour of the Big Apple like no other—from the rolling hills of Central Park, up to Harlem, down through Times Square, along the Hudson River waterfront, to a finish in lower Manhattan. United Airlines, New York area's largest airline, is the title sponsor of the United Airlines NYC Half and an NYRR foundation partner. To learn more, visit UnitedAirlinesNYCHalf.org.