FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Powerful International Field to challenge Mo Farah in Crescent City
Martin Lel, Gebre Gebremariam, Markos Geneti and Brett Gotcher Add Star
Power to Sunday's Rock 'n' Roll New Orleans Half Marathon;
Multiple World Record-Holder Mesert Defar will Battle U.S. Olympic
Marathoners Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan in Women's Event
New Orleans, LA. – February 19, 2013 – This Sunday's Rock 'n' Roll New
Orleans Marathon & 1/2 Marathon will showcase some of the biggest names in
running. Double Olympic 5,000 and 10,000 meter gold medalist Mo Farah
headlines men's race, but he will face some very strong competition on the
fast and flat course.
Farah is coming into Sunday's race having run 7:42 to win over 3,000 meters
Saturday at the British Grand Prix in Birmingham. His half-marathon
personal best is 1:00:23, the fastest time ever run by a Briton.
In order to get the victory in New Orleans, Farah will have to stave off a
formidable field of contenders. Foremost among them is Kenyan Martin Lel, a
three-time champion of the London Marathon and winner of the first Rock 'n'
Roll New Orleans Half Marathon in 2010. One of the world's most dominant
athletes over the marathon distance, Lel is a former World Half Marathon
Champion who most recently won the Vodafone Rock 'n' Roll Lisbon Half
Marathon RTP last September in 1:01:28.
In addition to Lel, the star-studded men's field includes Ethiopia's Gebre
Gebremariam, the 2010 ING New York City Marathon champion who finished
second to Farah at the NYC Half in 2011; Ethiopia's Markos Geneti, who won
the 2011 Los Angeles Marathon and owns a marathon best of 2:04:54 finishing
third in Dubai last year; Kenya's Cybrian Kotut, a 21-year-old who finished
fourth at Rock 'n' Roll Lisbon last year with a time of 1:02:25; and Scott
Overall of Great Britain, who owns a half-marathon best of 1:01:25 and is
prepping for the Virgin London Marathon in April.
"We're delighted to be a part of Mo's first race in the United States since
the London Olympics," said Matthew Turnbull, Elite Athlete Manager of the
Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series. "It's certainly not going to be a parade for
Mo, as we have some great talent lined up to take him on. He's going to
have to run his best to win and I personally can't wait to see the
The top American contender in the men's field is 28-year-old Brett Gotcher
of Flagstaff, Arizona. Gotcher owns a marathon PR of 2:10:36 from 2010,
which is the fourth-fastest debut in U.S. history. Coached by Greg
McMillan, the Team USA Arizona athlete won the 2009 U.S. 20K championships
and will look to improve his half-marathon best (1:02:09) in New Orleans.
Other Americans in the field include 2011 winner Josphat Boit (1:03:56);
two-time U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials Qualifier Michael Reneau (1:03:38);
Hansons-Brooks Distance Project teammates Luke Humphrey (1:03:57) and
Robert Scribner (1:04:51); and C. Fred Joslyn (1:04:27), winner of the 2011
Rock 'n' Roll New Orleans Marathon.
The power-packed women's field will be led by Meseret Defar of Ethiopia,
one of the most decorated female runners of all time. Previously announced
contenders include American marathon stars Kara Goucher and Shalane
Flanagan; former World Half Marathon champion Berhane Adere (Ethiopia), and
2012 Boston Marathon runner-up Jemima Jelegat (Kenya).
"It's a great coup for Rock 'n' Roll New Orleans to have both Olympic 5000m
champions racing," added Turnbull. "Meseret proved what a true competitor
she is claiming that second Olympic gold medal in London. I know she is
looking forward to testing herself over the super fast course in New
Orleans and I'm expecting something special from her this weekend. Of
course she won't have things all her own way with USA's best out there
challenging her as part of their build up to the Boston Marathon."
New Orleans' history for record road performances combined with its flat
course and talented fields puts the race records in jeopardy. The men's
event record is 1:01:07, set by Lel in 2010, while the women's mark is
1:07:36 set by New Zealand's Kim Smith in 2011. The United States
all-comers records are 58:46 for men and 1:07:11 for women, which were both
run at the Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon in 2011.
The Rock 'n' Roll New Orleans Marathon & 1/2 Marathon begins at 7:00 am in
downtown New Orleans on Poydras Street. With a fast course that starts
below sea level, the route traverses beautiful St. Charles Avenue, running
out and back before touring the historic French Quarter, Esplanade Avenue
and iconic City Park. The races will once again finish on Roosevelt Mall
behind the New Orleans Museum of Art, where the Dirty Dozen Brass Band will
headline the post-race party.
Race weekend will kick off with an elite athlete press conference at 2:00pm
on Friday, February 22 at the Health & Fitness Expo in the New Orleans
Morial Convention Center. For more information about the Rock 'n' Roll New
Orleans Marathon & 1/2 Marathon, please visit RunRocknRoll.com.
About Rock 'n' Roll New Orleans
The Rock 'n' Roll New Orleans Marathon & 1/2 Marathon will return to the Big
Easy on Sunday, February 24, 2013. The streets will be rockin' with the
sounds of local bands and cheerleaders lining nearly every mile of the 26.2
and 13.1 mile-race courses, along with thousands of spectators. Event
weekend kicks off on Friday, February 22 with a two-day Health & Fitness
Expo at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center where all participants
pick up their race number and packet. The expo will feature more than one
hundred running and fitness retailers, exhibits and interactive clinics.
All Rock 'n' Roll New Orleans participants will be treated to a finish line
concert headlined by the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. For more information,
please visit www.RunRocknRoll.com or follow @RunRocknRoll on Twitter.