FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Former Champions Martin Lel and Rodgers Rop Return to the
ING New York City Marathon 2007
"Best of the men" also includes last year's runner-up
Stephen Kiogora and London runner-up Abderrahim Goumri
Professional wheelchair race to include
each of the male winners since 2000
New York, September 11, 2007— Former ING New York City Marathon champions
Martin Lel and Rodgers Rop, both of Kenya, will return to the scene of
their biggest career victories at the 38th running of the ING New York City
Marathon on Sunday, November 4, it was announced today by New York Road
Runners president and CEO and race director Mary Wittenberg.
Joining 2003 champion Lel and the 2002 winner Rop in the field will be last
year's New York silver medalist Stephen Kiogora of Kenya and Morocco's
Abderrahim Goumri, who was second at the Flora London Marathon in April.
This quartet joins a championships men's field already headlined by the
previously announced defending champion, Marilson Gomes dos Santos of
Brazil, and 2004 champion Hendrick Ramaala of South Africa.
"What a stellar nucleus to our men's field: four former champions and the
reigning gold and silver medalists from New York and London," said
Wittenberg. "Each man is good enough to win here in 2007."
Lel, 28, has not run in New York since his victory four years ago, as
late-season injuries forced him to withdraw from the 2005 and 2006 races.
However, he showed that he was in winning form earlier this season when he
held off Goumri in a sprint finish to win in London in a time of two hours,
seven minutes, 41 seconds. Lel also won the Flora London Marathon in 2005
and was second there in 2006; he was third in 2003 and 2004 at the Boston
In 2002 Rop, 31, won a special spot in the sport's history by becoming one
of only five men to win both the Boston and New York City marathons in the
same year. Rop has thrived in New York, having notched a third-place
performance in 2001 and a second-place showing in 2003 around his
championship run. He lowered his personal best to 2:07:32 by winning the
Conenergy Hamburg Marathon in April.
Both Gourmi, 31, and Kiogora, 32, will be looking to climb one up one more
spot on the victory podium after recent heartbreaking losses. Goumri lost
by three seconds to Lel in London, and Kiogora's late rally fell eight
seconds short of catching Gomes at the tape in New York a year ago. In
Boston this year, Kiogora was third in 2:14:47.
Like the professional men's race, this year's professional wheelchair
division will be competitive, as each of the winners since the first
official race in 2000 return. The slate of champions includes Tunisia's
Kamel Ayari (2000); Saul Mendoza of Mexico (2001 and 2004); Krige Schabort
(2002 and 2003) and Ernst Van Dyk (2005, six-time Boston Marathon winner,
and world record-holder), both of South Africa; and course record-holder
Kurt Fearnley of Australia (2006).
This year's professional field will be competing for the a piece of the
more than $600,000 prize purse, and a chance to win one of the biggest road
races in the world in front of global audience of more than 315 million
people. The ING New York City Marathon is the last race in the inaugural
2006-07 World Marathon Majors series that showcases the sport's top
athletes and awards an unprecedented $1 million champion's prize. The WMM
also includes the Boston Marathon, the Flora London Marathon, the real,-
Berlin-Marathon, and the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon.
JUST THE FACTS
The Best Of The Men
|Name||Martin Lel||Rodgers Rop||Abderrahim Goumri||Stephen Kiogora
|Hometown||Kapsabet, Kenya||Nairobi, Kenya||Safi, Morocco||Meru, Kenya|
|Marathon Personal Best||2:06:41, London, 2006||2:07:32, Hamburg, 2007||2:07:44, London, 2007||2:09:21, Chicago, 2004|