FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Richard Finn, New York Road Runners
MARLA RUNYAN TO MAKE HER MARATHON DEBUT
AT THE 2002 NEW YORK CITY MARATHON
PALO ALTO, Ca. June 20 - A winner already on the track, on the roads and
in life, Marla Runyan will step up to tackle her next challenge by making
her marathon debut at the 2002 New York City Marathon on Sunday, November
3 it was announced today by Mary Wittenberg, Executive Vice President of
the New York Road Runners.
Runyan joined Wittenberg at a news conference here on the eve of the USA
Track and Field Outdoor Championships at Stanford University where she
was scheduled to compete in either the 1,500m or defend her 5,000m title
Runyan is the first confirmed entry for the 33rd edition of the
five-borough race that annually attracts a starting field of around
30,000 participants. The 2002 NYC Marathon has a guaranteed prize money
purse of $475,000 with the men's and women's champions collecting
$80,000 plus a luxury automobile from Pontiac.
More than 2.5 million spectators lined the New York City streets last
year to watch men's champion Tesfaye Jifar of Ethiopia (2:07:43) and
women's winner Margaret Okayo of Kenya (2:24:21) set NYC Marathon course
Runyan, 33, of Eugene, Ore., has emerged as one of the great success
stories in U.S. running annuals. Battling to overcome a visual
impairment, Runyan became the first legally blind athlete to compete at
the 2000 Olympic Games where she placed eighth in the 1500m (4:08.30).
Runyan, who became a Nike athlete in January, 2002, is in the midst of a
superb 2002 racing season both on the track and on the roads. She has won
three of five races this year beginning at the Shamrock 15K (52:20) in
March followed by a victory on the track at the Prefontaine Classic 3000m
with the fifth fastest time (8:39.36) by an American woman at that
distance. Earlier this month, Runyan claimed her first U.S. road racing
crown by winning the Freihofer's Run for Women 5K (15:27). Runyan took
her first competitive steps up the marathon distance by placing fifth
(53:37) at the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler in April.
Runyan has enjoyed career success already in New York, claiming the
American 5000m indoor record (15:07.33) last year as part of the New York
Road Runners Challenge Series at the Armory Track Center.
"We are thrilled to have Marla come run with us again," said Wittenberg.
"She gave us a phenomenal show when she set the U.S. 5000m record and we
expect similar excitement when she takes on the marathon challenge and
races through the streets of New York City."
The New York City Marathon joins the USA Men's 8K Championships and the
New York Women's Mini Marathon (June 8) as the cornerstones of this
year's NYRR elite running calendar and continues the tradition of the
NYRR in bringing the very best runners in the world to New York.
Founded in 1958 with a membership of 47, today New York Road Runners
(NYRR) is the largest, most active running organization in the world.
NYRR is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting the sport of
running for health, recreation and competition and provides full
professional services related to all aspects of racing, including course
certification, computer scoring and event promotion. NYRR has a
full-time staff of more than 60 employees, supplemented by a network of
thousands of volunteers, serving more than 34,000 members from every U.S.
state and over 100 countries across the globe.