Two-time Olympian Conley will join previously announced NYRR Team for Kids Ambassador Molly Huddle in making her marathon debut in New York following Rio 2016 Games
Three-time Olympian Ritzenhein to headline men’s contingent that includes 10 U.S. Olympic Team Marathon Trials participants
New York, July 27, 2016 - Two-time Olympian Kim Conley will make her marathon debut and three-time Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein will race the five boroughs for the first time in six years when they join previously announced NYRR Team for Kids Ambassador Molly Huddle in a star-studded American field for the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 6, it was announced today by New York Road Runners.
The American professional athlete field will include 10 men and 11 women who participated in the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Marathon Trials and three athletes who will be making their marathon debuts.
"We are thrilled to welcome a very deep and talented American field for the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon," said Peter Ciaccia, president of events for New York Road Runners and race director of the TCS New York City Marathon. "This all-star cast of U.S. athletes is the most exciting American field we’ve had in years, with Kim Conley and Molly Huddle making their marathon debuts after returning from the Rio Olympics, and Dathan Ritzenhein and Ryan Vail both racing the five-borough course for the third time. To highlight the great field, we’ve introduced a $100,000 USA prize purse, which is sure to raise the level of excitement around this year’s race to a new level and further elevate NYRR’s support of professional American distance running."
Conley, 30, of West Sacramento, CA, will make her marathon debut after having dedicated her career thus far to the 5000 and 10,000-meter distances. Conley was the 2014 U.S. champion in the 10,000 meters, but has found more international success in the 5000 meters, having recently qualified for her second Olympics in the distance. From 2008 to 2012, she lowered her 5000-meter personal best by more than a minute to make the U.S. Olympic team, and she finished 12th in her heat at the London 2012 Games. She was third in the women’s 5000-meter final at this year’s U.S. Olympic Team Trials to clinch her spot on the Rio 2016 team.
"My desire to run the TCS New York City Marathon spans several years since my participation in the NYRR Dash to the Finish Line 5K and the surrounding marathon weekend," Conley said. "Throughout my running career, I have felt drawn by an eventual move to the marathon distance, and watching the TCS New York City Marathon up close in 2013 made me realize that the challenge and quality of the New York experience is what I seek when making my debut. While my immediate focus rests on preparation to represent Team USA at the Rio Olympic Games, I have structured training this year with the intention of racing a fall marathon. As this Olympic cycle draws to a close, I can think of no better way to open the chapter leading to Tokyo 2020 than by making my marathon debut in New York this November."
Ritzenhein, 33, of Grand Rapids, MI, is a three-time Olympian who will race the New York City Marathon for the third time. He was 11th in his 26.2-mile debut at the 2006 New York City Marathon in 2:14:01, and he returned in 2010 to take eighth place in 2:12:33. After failing to finish the 10,000m in his Olympic debut at the Athens 2004 Games with an injury, Ritzenhein took on the Olympic marathon, finishing ninth in the event at the Beijing 2008 Games. He was then 13th in the 10,000 meters at the London 2012 Games. Ritzenhein owns a personal-best marathon time of 2:07:47, set at the 2012 Chicago Marathon, while his highest finish at a major marathon was seventh at the 2015 Boston Marathon. He has finished in the top three in four NYRR events – the 2007 Healthy Kidney 10K, 2008 NYC Half, 2011 NYRR Dash to the Finish Line 5K, and 2013 NYC Half.
"I am so excited and honored to be returning for the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon," Ritzenhein said. "It has been a decade since I ran my first marathon in New York City in 2006, and six years since I last ran this iconic race. New York gave me my start and passion for the marathon, and standing on the podium in Central Park is still one of my biggest goals. I learned my toughest lessons in the marathon both times I ran this race, and I will take that experience and focus to give it my all on November 6."
It was previously announced that Huddle will make her 26.2-mile debut at the TCS New York City Marathon following her participation in the 10,000 meters at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. The two-time United Airlines NYC Half defending champion and American 5000-meter record-holder, will run the TCS New York City Marathon as an NYRR Team for Kids Ambassador, the organization’s charity running team of more than 1,700 adult runners who add meaning to their miles by raising funds for NYRR’s free youth running programs.
"Our mission at New York Road Runners is to help and inspire people through running, and having the top U.S. athletes race our signature event in the TCS New York City Marathon will be a fantastic opportunity to relay that message to the public," said Michael Capiraso, president and CEO of New York Road Runners. "It will be a great way to inspire the next generation of runners watching along the course or tuning in from home."
Additional Top American Men’s Professional Runner Backgrounds and Notable Performances
- · Christo Landry, 30, of Ann Arbor, MI, is the 2016 USA Half Marathon and 25K champion and holds the American record in the latter distance, which he set in 2014 when he won three USA Road Championships in a row (10 mile, 10K, and 25K). Landry’s personal-best marathon time of 2:14:30 came at the 2014 Chicago Marathon, where he finished 13th.
- · Matt Llano, 28, of Flagstaff, AZ, was sixth at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Marathon Trials after finishing second at the 2015 USA Marathon Championships. He was 13th at the 2015 Berlin Marathon, where he clocked a 2:12:28 personal best.
- · Tyler Pennel, 31, of Blowing Rock, NC, won the 2014 Twin Cities Marathon - an event that doubled as the 2014 USA Marathon Championships - in his marathon debut. He finished fifth at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Marathon Trials.
- · Ryan Vail, 30, of Portland, OR, will race the New York City Marathon for the third time. In 2013, he was the top American finisher and 13th overall, and in 2014, he was the second American and ninth overall. His personal-best time of 2:10:57 came at the 2014 London Marathon.
Additional Top American Women’s Professional Runner Backgrounds and Notable Performances
- · Janet Bawcom, 38, of Flagstaff, AZ, was the first Kenyan-born woman to make a U.S. Olympic team, finishing 12th in the 10,000 meters at the 2012 London Olympics. She was fifth at the last two U.S. Olympic Team Marathon Trials and has won multiple U.S. road titles in non-marathon distances since becoming an American citizen in 2010.
- · Neely Gracey, 26, of Boulder, CO, cracked the top 10 at this year’s United Airlines NYC Half, a year after making her half-marathon debut. She made her 26.2-mile debut at April’s Boston Marathon, where she was the first American to cross the finish line in 2:35:00. Her decision to run Boston was based on a lifelong connection. On the day she was born, her father, 1992 U.S. Olympian Steve Spence, ran a 2:16:40 for 19th place overall.
- · Sara Hall, 33, of Redding, CA, was the top American finisher at the 2016 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships and won the 3000-meter steeplechase at the 2011 Pan American Games, the same year she won the NYRR Dash to the Finish Line 5K. Married to U.S. Olympic marathoner Ryan Hall, she finished 10th at the 2015 Chicago Marathon with an Olympic-standard time of 2:31:14 just months after making her marathon debut in Los Angeles. She improved her personal best to 2:30:06 at the 2016 London Marathon, where she was 12th.
- · Kellyn Taylor, 30, of Flagstaff, AZ was fourth in the 10,000 meters and sixth in the marathon at this year’s U.S. Olympic Team Trials. The 2015 Pan American Games bronze medalist over 5000 meters is studying to become a firefighter.
Top American Professional Women
The 2016 TCS New York City Marathon total prize purse of $803,000 will include a USA Division for both men’s and women’s professional runners for the first time in a decade. The USA Division will total $116,000, with the top male and female American finisher each taking home $25,000. The second-place finisher in each category will receive $15,000, followed by $10,000 for third place, $5,000 for fourth place, and $3,000 for fifth place. In order to contend for the USA Division prize, athletes must have U.S. citizenship and not be eligible to represent another country in international competition.
The 2016 TCS New York City Marathon is part of the Abbott World Marathon Majors, a series made up of the world’s six largest and most renowned road races – the Tokyo, Boston, Virgin Money London, Bank of America Chicago and TCS New York City Marathons. This year’s series will also include the 2016 Rio Olympic Games Marathon. Points are allocated to the top five finishers in each race, with a $1 million prize split by the men’s, women’s and wheelchair champions.
The 2016 TCS New York City Marathon will be televised live on Sunday, November 6, on WABC-TV, Channel 7 in the New York tristate area from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET, and for the rest of the nation on ESPN2 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET.
About the TCS New York City Marathon
The TCS New York City Marathon is the premier event of New York Road Runners (NYRR) and the largest marathon in the world. Over 1,000,000 people have finished the race since its first running in 1970 with just 127 entrants and 55 finishers running four laps around Central Park. The race expanded to all five boroughs in 1976 and is now in its 40th year as a five-borough affair. Held annually on the first Sunday of November, the race features 50,000 runners including the world’s top professional athletes and a vast range of competitive, recreational, and charity runners. Participants from over 125 countries tour the city, starting on Staten Island at the foot of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and running through the neighborhoods of Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx before ending in Manhattan. In 2015, the inaugural NYRR Youth Invitational at the TCS New York City Marathon gave young runners the opportunity to run 1.8 miles of the race course in Central Park, beginning near mile 24 and finishing at the famed TCS New York City Marathon finish line. More than one million spectators and thousands of volunteers line the city streets in support of the runners, while millions more watch the live television broadcast in the New York area on WABC-TV, Channel 7, nationally on ESPN2, and via various international broadcast partners around the world. The race is part of the Abbott World Marathon Majors, which features the world’s top marathons—Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago, and New York—and crowns the top professional male and female marathoners each year. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), a leading global IT services, consulting, and business solutions organization, is the premier partner of NYRR and the title sponsor of the TCS New York City Marathon. The 46th running of the TCS New York City Marathon is set for November 6, 2016. To learn more, visit TCSNYCMarathon.org.