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Posted: September 14, 2016:  

Athletics: Defending Champions Stanley Biwott and Mary Keitany to Lead World-Class Professional Athlete Field at 2016 TCS New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 6

September 14, 2016:

Star-studded American contingent that includes Dathan Ritzenhein and Molly Huddle to challenge Biwott and Keitany, who will go for a fourth-straight Kenyan sweep

New York, September 14, 2016 - Kenyans Stanley Biwott and Mary Keitany will return to the streets of New York City’s five boroughs on Sunday, November 6, when they go for their second and third consecutive TCS New York City Marathon titles, respectively, announced Peter Ciaccia, president of events for New York Road Runners and race director of the TCS New York City Marathon. The duo will go for a fourth-straight Kenyan sweep of the TCS New York City Marathon titles, headlining a star-studded field that also includes 18 Olympians and three celebrated American women making their marathon debuts.

"We are thrilled to welcome back Stanley and Mary in what is one of the most celebrated TCS New York City Marathon fields in recent memory," said Ciaccia. "Our professional athlete field is stacked with international champions and Americans who are changing the face of long-distance running in our country. It’s a great group to celebrate the 40th anniversary of our five-borough course."

Biwott, 30, will race the five-borough course for the third time, having won the 2015 TCS New York City Marathon after breaking through in the final two minutes to finish in 2:10:34. He was fifth in his New York City debut in 2013, and since then has finished as runner-up at the Virgin Money London Marathon in both 2014 and 2016. Biwott was part of the lead pack at the Rio 2016 Olympic Marathon before dropping out mid-race. His half-marathon best of 58:56, run at the 2013 Ras Al Khaimah Half-Marathon in the United Arab Emirates, currently ranks him as the 13th-fastest man in history.

"New York is special to me because it was here I won my first title in the Abbott World Marathon Majors," Biwott said. "After last year, my name has been spread worldwide, and I have been considered among the top athletes in the world. That's why I always like to return to New York, where I left a piece of my heart."

Keitany, 34, has won the TCS New York City Marathon each of the last two years, and with a victory this year she would become the first female able-bodied runner to win three consecutive New York City Marathon titles since Grete Waitz claimed five straight wins from 1982 to 1986. Keitany, who represented her country at the London 2012 Olympics, made her marathon debut at the 2010 New York City Marathon, snagging the third spot on the podium. Keitany is the second-fastest woman in history and the Kenyan record-holder (2:18:37). The mother of two is also the 2011 and 2012 London Marathon champion, the 2009 IAAF World Half Marathon champion, and the former half-marathon world record-holder (1:05:50).

"I am very excited again to go to New York and defend my title," Keitany said. "I am happy that I will get to try and defend for the third time, because I have won in 2014 and 2015. This year, I am very excited and happy that, if it is possible, I can win for the third time and can make history. If you win two or three times, it is not easy. If you do it, you can make history."

The two defending champions and the rest of the international athletes will join a previously announced talented American professional runner field that includes 12 men and 13 women who participated in the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Marathon Trials and three athletes who will be making their marathon debuts. Two-time Olympians Molly Huddle and Kim Conley, along with U.S. triathlete and Olympic gold medalist Gwen Jorgensen, will make their highly anticipated marathon debuts in the women’s field, while three-time Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein will race the five-borough course for the third time in the men’s field.

Additional Top Men’s Professional Runner Backgrounds and Notable Performances

  • Ghirmay Ghebreslassie, 20, of Eritrea, was the marathon gold medalist at the 2015 IAAF World Championships, becoming the youngest ever world marathon winner at the age of 19. He finished fourth at the Rio 2016 Olympic Marathon, just missing out on the podium.
  • Lelisa Desisa, 26, of Ethiopia, was the runner-up at the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon and finished third in 2015, and he was second at this year’s Boston Marathon after winning the race in both 2013 and 2015. Desisa was also the silver medalist at the 2013 IAAF World Championships Marathon.
  • Moses Kipsiro, 30, of Uganda, owns three World Championship medals; the two-time Olympian finished fourth at the Beijing 2008 Olympics over 5000 meters. He will make his TCS New York City Marathon debut after setting a personal-best marathon time of 2:15:48 earlier this year in Hamburg.
  • Lucas Rotich, 26, of Kenya, owns a personal-best marathon time of 2:07:17 from his win at the 2015 Hamburg Marathon. He began his 2016 racing season with a win at the Lake Biwa Marathon in Japan, finishing in 2:09:11, and then won the UAE Healthy Kidney 10K in May.
  • Dathan 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.

Additional Top Women’s Professional Runner Backgrounds and Notable Performances

  • Joyce Chepkirui, 28, of Kenya, was runner-up at March’s United Airlines NYC Half for the second consecutive year, losing out on the title to Molly Huddle by just eight hundredths of a second. She will be making her TCS New York City Marathon debut; her best-ever finish at a major marathon was when she placed third at this year’s Boston Marathon.
  • Gladys Cherono, 33, of Kenya, owns the second-fastest time in the TCS New York City Marathon women’s field after Keitany; her winning time of 2:19:25 at the 2015 Berlin Marathon also makes her the seventh fastest women’s marathoner of all-time. She previously won gold at the 2014 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships and silver over 10,000 meters at the 2013 IAAF World Championships.
  • Molly Huddle, 32, of Providence, RI, will make her 26.2-mile debut at the TCS New York City Marathon following her participation at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, where she broke the 10,000 meter American record. The two-time United Airlines NYC Half defending champion will run the TCS New York City Marathon as an NYRR Team for Kids Ambassador, raising awareness and funds for NYRR’s free youth running programs.
  • Sally Kipyego, 30, of Kenya, was the silver medalist in the 10,000 meters at both the London 2012 Olympics and 2011 IAAF World Championships. The 2014 NYC Half champion made her 26.2-mile debut at the 2015 TCS New York City Marathon, but did not finish.
  • Aselefech Mergia, 31, of Ethiopia, was the runner-up at the 2015 TCS New York City Marathon, finishing in 2:25:32. She is a three-time winner of the Dubai Marathon and was declared the winner of the 2012 London Marathon after doping convictions nullified the results of the first two finishers.
Top Professional Men


Personal-Best Marathon

Twitter Handle

Stanley Biwott, KEN




Lelisa Desisa, ETH




Ghirmay Ghebreslassie, ERI




Lucas Rotich, KEN




Dathan Ritzenhein, USA




Ryan Vail, USA




Hiroyuki Yamamoto, JPN




Matt Llano, USA





Shadrack Biwott, USA





Tyler Pennel, USA





Craig Leon, USA




Christo Landry, USA




Moses Kipsiro, UGA




Top Professional Women


Personal-Best Marathon

Twitter Handle

Mary Keitany, KEN



Aselefech Mergia, ETH



Gladys Cherono, KEN



Buzunesh Deba, KEN



Joyce Chepkirui, KEN



Lanni Marchant, CAN



Kellyn Taylor, USA



Janet Bawcom, USA



Sara Hall, USA



Neely Gracey, USA



Sally Kipyego, KEN

1:08:31 (half marathon)


Molly Huddle, USA

1:07:41 (half marathon)


Kim Conley, USA

1:09:44 (half marathon)


Gwen Jorgensen, USA

32:12 (10K)


The 2016 TCS New York City Marathon total prize purse of $803,000 will include a $100,000 first-place prize, as well as a USA Division for both men’s and women’s professional runners for the first time in a decade. In order to contend for the first-place USA Division prize of $25,000, 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

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