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A Race Like No Other
2011 ING New York City Marathon Women's Preview and Starter List
By Sharon Ekstrom
See Also: Starter List (bottom of page) | Women's Bios
Photo Credit: Victah Sailer / PhotoRun
Due to Injury Edna Kiplagat
Will Not Defend Her Title
For the 2011 race, the New York City Marathon will again assemble a top notch field of female marathoners. While defending champion Edna Kiplagat (KEN) has been sidelined with an injury incurred while winning the World Championships Marathon, other top marathoners will be on hand to chase down a victory. On the roster are 8 sub-2:25 marathoners - Mary Keitany (KEN), Inga Abitova (RUS), Caroline Kilel (KEN), Bizunesh Deba (ETH), Isabellah Andersson (SWE), Firehiwott Dado (ETH), Jessica Augusto (POR) and Caroline Rotich (KEN). Also, of note in the field are Kim Smith (NZL), Werknesh Kidane (ETH) and Jo Pavey (GBR).
Nearly Undefeated... An Emerging Favorite
Mary Keitany has not lost a race in 2011. A half marathon specialist who has collected victories at almost every 13.1 mile race she has ever run, set the half marathon world record at the 2011 Ras al Khaimah Half (65:50) and followed up with a victory of the 2011 London Marathon (2:19:19) dropping over ten minutes off her debut marathon time. Her return to New York to run her third career marathon holds promise. Keitany is also the fastest marathoner in the New York City Marathon field and sixth fastest female marathoner of all time, noteworthy since she debuted in the distance just one year earlier at the 2010 New York City Marathon.
At the 2010 race, Keitany hung with the lead group and threw surges in at mile 22 - breaking the pack down to herself, Edna Kiplagat and Shalane Flanagan (USA). Keitany began to fade after mile 25 while Kiplagat surged and Flanagan eventually caught her. Nonetheless, Keitany finished third in 2:29:01, only 40 seconds behind the winner Kiplagat. Keitany battled it out against Kiplagat again at the 2011 London Marathon, but she didn't make the same mistakes as in New York. After throwing in early surges, she ran away at the half marathon mark and continued to extend the gap as she ran solo to the finish - the third fastest female finish at the London Marathon behind Paula Radcliffe.
Who's In? / Who's Missing?
While Mary Keitany stands to be most people's favorite, she will be met by a number of women who have faced Keitany before. Inga Abitova, a foe from the 2011 London Marathon and 2010 New York City Marathon, has a strong and recent personal best is 2:22:19 (2010 Berlin Marathon). Caroline Kilel finished third behind Keitany's victory at the Lisbon Half Marathon and with a marathon personal best of 2:22:36 (2011 Boston Marathon) makes her third fastest in the field. (She also was fourth behind Keitany's victory at the 2009 Half Marathon World Championships). Bizunesh Deba, another competitor from the 2010 New York City Marathon is a prolific marathoner with a best of 2:23:31 from the 2011 Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Marathon and is a local hero with much experience in New York. Also returning to New York is Kim Smith who was nearly a runaway winner at the Boston Marathon until a leg problem caused her to drop out - but her recent records of fastest Half Marathons ever run in North America tell us that her speed is there. Jo Pavey who competed against Keitany at the 2011 London Marathon is best known for track running but is expected to continue to improve in the marathon after what was a disappointing 2:28:24 marathon finish in London.
Other people of note in the field are 2011 New York City Half Marathon Champion Caroline Rotich who beat defending champion Edna Kiplagat at that race. Alevtina Biktimirova who has 16 marathons to her name, has run four marathons under 2:28. Werknesh Kidane who just achieved a personal best at the 2011 Boston Marathon (2:26:15) and Isabellah Andersson who was third at the 2011 Dubai Marathon (2:23:41) and seventh at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu round out the field.
With the USA Olympic Trials in January coming on the heels of the New York City Marathon, most American marathoners of any note will not be attendance. USA Olympian Jen Rhines is the main American name in the field, but she has often stated that the marathon is not her favorite event and she would rather focus on the track.
Smith On a Roll
Kim Smith is a New Zealand athlete, but she's the closest thing to an American in the front field. Smith attended Providence College (RI), winning four NCAA titles and has remained in Providence. Smith debuted in the marathon at the 2008 New York City Marathon. While she did not finish that race, she followed up by setting a national record at the 2010 London Marathon finishing in 2:25:21 (8th place). She returned to New York in 2010 and ran a respectable 2:29:28, good enough for 5th place. In February, Smith ran 67:36 at the Mardi Gras Half Marathon - the best time ever for a Half Marathon in the USA at that time. Smith then brought that speed to the 2011 Boston Marathon running more than 50 seconds ahead of any other woman by the halfway mark. She seemed guaranteed the win until mile 17 when Smith grabbed her right calf and stopped completely. She struggled to move forward, but her legs were not cooperating and she dropped out. Her strategy and bold moves in such a strong field were heroic. Smith has recovered from her injury bettering her half marathon time again at the 2011 Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon in 67:11 - the fastest half-marathon ever run on US soil.
The field is packed...
|Female Elite Athletes|
|Mary Keitany (29)||KEN||101||2:19:19, London, 2011|| History |
|Caroline Kilel (30)||KEN||102||2:22:36, Boston, 2011|| History |
|Kim Smith (29)||NZL||103||2:25:21, London, 2010|| History |
|Inga Abitova (29)||RUS||104||2:22:19, London, 2010|| History |
|Isabellah Andersson (30)||SWE||105||2:23:41, Dubai, 2011|| History |
|Buzunesh Deba (24)||ETH||106||2:23:31, San Diego, 2011|| History |
|Caroline Rotich (27)||KEN||107||2:24:26, Boston, 2011|| History |
|Jessica Augusto (29)||POR||108||2:24:33, London, 2011|| History |
|Ana Dulce Félix (29)||POR||109||2:26:30, Zurich, 2011|| History |
|Galina Bogomolova (34)||RUS||110||2:20:47, Chicago, 2006|| History |
|Firehiwot Dado (27)||ETH||111||2:24:13, Rome, 2011|| History |
|Werknesh Kidane (29)||ETH||112||2:26:15, Boston, 2011|| History |
|Jo Pavey (38)||GBR||114||2:28:24, London, 2011|| History |
|Misiker Mekonnin Demissie (25)||ETH||115||2:25:21, San Diego, 2011|| History |
|Jen Rhines (37)||USA||116||2:29:32, Rome, 2006|| History |
|Alessandra Aguilar (33)||ESP||117||2:27:00, Rotterdam, 2011|| History |
|Lauren Fleshman (30)||USA||118||Debut|| History |
|Diane Nukuri-Johnson (26)||BDI||119||2:33:47, Los Angeles, 2011|| History |
|Jennifer Houck (27)||USA||120||2:33:01, Duluth, 2011|| History |
|Sarah Porter (22)||USA||121||Debut|| History |
|Molly Pritz (23)||USA||122||Debut|| History |
|Camille Herron (29)||USA||124||2:38:23, St. Paul, 2009|| History |
Edna Kiplagat (32) KEN | |2:25:38, Los Angeles, 2010 | |History
Alevtina Biktimirova (29) RUS | |2:25:12, Frankfurt, 2005 | |History
|Nathalie Vasseur (46)||FRA|| ||2:40:39, Rotterdam, 2008|| History |
|Melisa Christian||USA|| ||2:41:18, Boston, 2008|| History |
|Michelle Rorke||USA|| ||2:43:08, Boston, 2006|| History |
|Devon Crosby-Helms (29)||USA|| ||2:43:32, Los Angeles, 2011|| History |
|Nichole Porath||USA|| ||2:44:48, Duluth, 2011|| History |
|Tyler Stewart (20)||USA|| ||2:45:14, Santa Rosa, 2011|| History |
|Johanna Ottosson||NZL|| ||2:45:32: Sacramento, 2010|| History |
|Erin Ward||USA|| ||2:47:37, Burlington, 2011|| History |
|Emily Field (30)||USA|| ||2:50:24, San Francisco, 2011|| History |
|Jill Gamble||CAN|| ||2:50:34, Ottawa, 2011|| History |
|Caitlin Phillips||USA|| ||Debut|| History |