FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contacts: Richard Finn
Media Relations Department
New York Road Runners
New York Lands Reigning Olympic Marathon Gold Medalist Stefano Baldini
Newly crowned European Marathon champion signs on to compete
in the ING New York City Marathon 2006
New York, September 15, 2006—Reigning 2004 Olympic Marathon champion and
2006 European Marathon champion Stefano Baldini of Italy will run the ING
New York City Marathon 2006 on November 5, it was announced today by race
director Mary Wittenberg, president and CEO of New York Road Runners.
Baldini joins an exciting men's field that already includes defending
champion and marathon world record-holder Paul Tergat of Kenya and a trio
of American standouts including 2004 Olympic Marathon silver medalist Meb
Keflezighi and Olympians Alan Culpepper and Dathan Ritzenhein.
"Baldini is our sport's golden boy. He adds a glitter to an already
star-studded field," said Wittenberg. "Stefano is a big-time racer. He is
exactly the type of athlete we love to have here in New York. Victories are
what matter to Stefano. You can count on seeing him in the thick of it."
Baldini, 35, is considered one of the sport's all-time greats. His list of
global honors includes a gold-medal performance at the 1996 IAAF World
Half-Marathon Championships and two bronze-medal finishes in the IAAF World
Championships Marathon in 2001 and 2003.
This will be Baldini's fourth appearance in the ING New York City Marathon.
He placed third in 1997 with a time of 2:09:31 and was fifth in 2002 with a
time of 2:09:12. He also ran in 1996, but did not finish the race. A
victory for Baldini this year would mark the fifth time an Italian man has
hoisted the first-place trophy at the New York City Marathon. Italians
captured three consecutive titles from 1984 to 1986, led by Orlando
Pizzolato's back-to-back victories in 1984 and 1985. Gianni Poli continued
the streak in 1986, while Giacomo Leone became the most recent Italian man
to win New York in 1996. Franca Fiacconi of Italy won the women's title in
"I am very excited to participate in the ING New York City Marathon 2006 as
the Olympic and European champion," said Baldini. "I am always looking for
a challenge and New York will provide that this year as most of the big
names will be there. It is also a marathon with a big Italian tradition, so
I hope to be in my best form for the first Sunday in November, because I
want to confirm myself as a top marathon runner."
At the Flora London Marathon this past April, Baldini set a personal best
and an Italian marathon record (2:07:22) on his way to a fifth-place finish
and a spot on the World Marathon Majors series leaderboard. Since then, he
has won five races including the European Championships Marathon (2:11:32)
on August 13 in Gothenburg, Sweden. It was his second European title in the
marathon. He won his first crown in 1998.
Since his Olympic victory in Athens, Baldini has become a major celebrity
in his homeland thanks to newspaper headlines that documented his win and
frequent appearances on Italian television and radio. In addition to the
2004 Olympics, he also competed in the 1996 and 2000 Games.
Baldini was the recipient of the 2004 Abebe Bikila Award, which is
presented annually by New York Road Runners to an individual who has made
an outstanding contribution to the sport of distance running.
New York Road Runners
New York Road Runners, soon to celebrate its 50th anniversary, is dedicated
to promoting the sport of distance running, enhancing health and fitness
for all, and responding to community needs. Our road races and other
fitness programs draw upwards of 300,000 runners annually, and together
with our magazine and website support and promote professional and
recreational running. A staff of 60, assisted by thousands of volunteers,
stages the ING New York City Marathon, as well as a road race nearly every
weekend plus many track and cross country events. NYRR's home base in New
York, and its lifelong identification with Central Park, have given many of
its events iconic status, attracting the world's top professional runners.
Our youth programs provide running to 15,000 New York City schoolchildren
who would otherwise have few or no fitness opportunities. For more
information visit www.nyrr.org.
The ING New York City Marathon
The premier event of New York Road Runners, the ING New York City Marathon
is one of the world's great road races, drawing more than 90,000
applicants. The race attracts many world-class professional athletes, not
only for the more than $600,000 in prize money, but also for the chance to
excel in the media capital of the world before two million cheering
spectators and 312 million worldwide television viewers. As any one of the
672,000 past participants will attest, crossing the finish line in Central
Park is one of the great thrills of a lifetime. For more information visit
World Marathon Majors
The ING New York City Marathon is one of five events in the World Marathon
Majors series that showcases the sport's top athletes and awards an
unprecedented $1 million champion's prize. The WMM series also includes the
Boston Marathon, the Flora London Marathon, the real,- Berlin Marathon, and
the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon. For more information visit