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A Race Like No Other
2012 ING New York City Marathon Preview and Starter List
By Sharon Ekstrom
See Also: Starter List (bottom of page) | Men's Bios
photo: Victah Sailer / PhotoRun
2011 Chicago Champ Mosop
Looks to Contend
The New York City Marathon has a top field slated for its 2012 race with a return of several past champions -- except for the 2011 Champion and course record holder Geoffrey Mutai (2:05:06), who opted not to defend his crown, and instead chase a world record at the 2012 Berlin Marathon. Of the returning champions, three are two-time champions. They join many top Americans and several marathon superstars. The race promises excitement with several favorites, but no clear cut winner. Many top elites coming to the New York City Marathon have had only three months to recover from the 2012 London Olympics. They will meet others who could not secure a coveted spot on their nation's teams and are hungry to compete.
While travel plans may be altered in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, race day is nearly upon us. Five men have run faster than 2:05:16, namely Moses Mosop, Wilson Kipsang, Gebre Gebremariam, Stanley Biwott and Martin Lel, will certainly be ones to watch. They join favorites like Meb Keflezighi, Abdi Abdirahman, Marilson Gomes dos Santos and Abderrahime Bouramdane. They will all be looking to make their mark on one of the largest marathons in the world.
Five former New York City Marathon champions are returning to reclaim their titles - German Silva* (1994, 2:11:21 & 1995, 2:11:00), Martin Lel (2003, 2:10:30 & 2007, 2:09:04 ), Marilson Gomes dos Santos (2006, 2:09:58 & 2008, 2:08:43), Meb Keflezighi (2009, 2:09:15) and Gebre Gebremariam (2010, 2:08:14).
Silva, a former Mexican elite, has since retired from professional racing; but still collects fast masters times. He ran 2:39:40 at the 2011 New York City Marathon. Lel has finished top two in 9 of 12 marathons he has finished. After some time off from injury, Lel is back racing - his 2nd place finish at the 2012 London Marathon wasn't enough to be chosen for the London Olympics, but solidifies his return to racing. Gomes dos Santos has been a brilliant strategist who off-the-radar has scored two victories upsetting top elite fields. He continues to acquire faster finishes and he was 5th at the London Olympic Games.
And of course, there is Meb Keflezighi, who in 2009 became the first American to win the New York City Marathon in twenty-seven years, since Alberto Salazar's victory in 1982! While journalists are not supposed to choose favorites, every year MarathonGuide.com likes to highlight Meb Keflezighi. He is a favorite, because of his resolve and his determination to be the best athlete, father and person he can be. And he proves this time and time again despite the odds against him. He also finished 4th at the 2012 London Olympics. Gebremariam who was best known for a decorated track career has put aside his track shoes and made great strides in the marathon. He won the 2010 New York City Marathon, and has shown a devastating finishing kick at other marathons. As a new generation of Ethiopian marathon specialists have begun to run faster times in the distance, Gebremariam returned to the 10000m when he could not gain Olympic berth in the marathon. While he placed 8th at the Olympic Games 10000m, he could be in perfect shape to win the New York City Marathon once again.
These former champions know the course extremely well, having run the race multiple times -- but will this be enough of an edge as they go head-to-head against two men who have some of the fastest finishes in the distance?
The New Elite
These speedsters are Kenyans Moses Mosop (2011 Boston and Chicago Marathon Champion) and Wilson Kipsang (2012 London Marathon Champion, 2011 & 2010 Frankfurt Marathon Champion and bronze medallist from the 2012 London Olympics). Mosop's personal best was a 2:03:06 runner up finish from the 2011 Boston Marathon. He solidified his abilities in the distance with a 2:05:37 victory at the 2011 Chicago Marathon and a 2:05:03 from the 2012 Rotterdam Marathon (3rd place). While Mosop was slated for the Kenyan Olympic Marathon team, an injury prevented him from racing and he was replaced by alternate Emmanuel Mutai. Kipsang, whose personal best is 2:03:42 from the 2011 Frankfurt Marathon and won the 2012 London Marathon (2:04:44) in what was the one of the most competitive Kenyan fields assembled as it was a make-shift Kenyan Olympic Marathon team trials. Kipsang was a top-pick to win at the 2012 London Olympics. While racing strategy had him as a front runner from the start, he faded but still managed to take the bronze in 2:09:37. At this point Kipsang has nothing to lose, seeing that his career is still blossoming and he seems to be recovered from the Olympic Games - proof being his victory in September at the Great North Run in 59:06. But how will he fare at a race that is not pancake flat and has no pacemakers? He will have to rework his strategy from the Olympics to best this field.
While these veteran marathoners are no longer the fastest elites in competition to date, their skills in the distance make them remarkably competitive in their own right. To put it simply, speed isn't all that matters and this has been proven time and time again in marathons around the world and will be most evident on race day at the 2012 New York City Marathon.
photo: Victah Sailer / PhotoRun
Meb is Back in NYC
Strong U.S. Men's Field outside a National Championship
Organizers of the elite field at the New York City Marathon has gathered one of the strongest American mens fields for the 2012 race outside of a National Championship. Perhaps partly to support the future of USA Long Distance Running, there is no denying that NYRR isn't doing their part. Some notable in the elite field are Meb Keflezighi, Abdi Abdirahman, Brett Gotcher, Jason Hartmann, Nick Arciniaga, Andrew Carlson and Tim Nelson.
Keflezighi and Abdirahman are both coming from the 2012 London Olympics. Abdirahman who has run the New York City Marathon several times has done much to help the pacing in the past. Abdirahman failed to finish the London Olympic Marathon along with Ryan Hall, the third member of the USA men's marathon team. Both succumbed to injuries during the race and dropped out just after the half. (Hall who is still injured withdrew from the New York City Marathon field months ago.) Meanwhile, Keflezighi, the silver medalist from the 2004 Athens Olympic Marathon, rallied to finish by running his own race and picking off many elites whose resumes boast faster personal bests. If healthy, both men will be highly competitive on race day.
That's not to say that Gotcher, Hartmann, Arciniaga, Carlson and Nelson won't impress. These young talents capable of 2:10-2:12 finishes are just starting to push their way into top elite rosters. If they are healthy and in full fitness for race day, any one of these men can surprise us. And perhaps these Americans will work together as the Kenyans and Ethiopians tend to do in the early part of the marathon. If so, we may see a record number of Americans in the top 10.
The 2012 New York City Marathon will be highlight an interesting showdown on the roads of New York City. Whatever ultimately happens, it should be a marathon for the ages.
|Male Elite Athletes|
|Ryan Hall (30)||USA||1||2:04:58, Boston, 2011|| History |
|Moses Mosop (27)||KEN||2||2:03:06, Boston, 2011|| History |
|Wilson Kipsang (30)||KEN||3||2:03:42, Frankfurt, 2011|| History |
|Gebre Gebremariam (28)||ETH||4||2:04:53, Boston, 2011|| History |
|Stanley Biwott (26)||KEN||5||2:05:12, Paris, 2012|| History |
|Martin Lel (34)||KEN||6||2:05:15, London, 2008|| History |
|Meb Keflezighi (37)||USA||7||2:09:08, Olympic Trials, 2012|| History |
|Marilson Gomes dos Santos (35)||BRA||8||2:06:34, London, 2011|| History |
|Abderrahime Bouramdane (34)||MAR||9||2:07:33, London, 2010|| History |
|Abdi Abdirahman (35)||USA||10||2:08:56, Chicago, 2006|| History |
|Adil Annani (32)||MAR||11||2:07:43, London, 2012|| History |
|Brett Gotcher (28)||USA||12||2:10:36, Houston, 2010|| History |
|Scott Overall (29)||GBR||14||2:22:37, Berlin, 2011|| History |
|Ryan Vail (26)||USA||15||2:12:43, Olympic Trials, 2012|| History |
|Jason Hartmann (31)||USA||16||2:11:06, Chicago, 2010|| History |
|Nick Arciniaga (29)||USA||18||2:11:30, Houston, 2011|| History |
|Solonei Rocha Da Silva (30)||BRA||19||2:14:57, Padova, 2011|| History |
|Andrew Carlson (30)||USA||20||2:11:24, Olympic Trials, 2012|| History |
|Sergio Reyes (31)||USA||21||2:14:02, Twin Cities, 2010|| History |
|Scott Bauhs (26)||USA||22||Debut|| History |
|Brent Vaughn (28)||USA||23||Debut|| History |
|Tim Ritchie (25)||USA||24||Debut|| History |
|Ian Burrell (27)||USA||25||2:14:04, Olympic Trials, 2012|| History |
|Tim Nelson (28)||USA||27||2:15:06, New York, 2010|| History |
|Zach Hine (25)||USA||28||2:16:40, Olympic Trials, 2012|| History |
|Allen Wagner (32)||USA||29||2:17:16, Olympic Trials, 2012|| History |
|Simon Bairu (29)||CAN||30||2:19:52, Houston, 2012|| History |
|Jason Flogel (29)||USA||32||2:18:21, Duluth, 2011|| History |
|Nick End (28)||USA||34||2:19:48, Cal Int'l, 2011|| History |
|Jesse Armijo (30)||USA||35||2:17:18, Cal Int'l, 2011|| History |
|Chris Chavez (26)||USA||36||2:20:18, Olympic Trials, 2012|| History |
|Christo Landry (26)||USA||38||Debut|| History |
|Antonio Sousa (42)||POR||40||2:22:21, Hamburg, 2002|| History |