FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Top Americans Antonio Vega, Tim Nelson, Blake Russell to Take Part in
ING New York City Marathon
Wheelchair Field to Feature Americans Krige Schabort and Amanda McGrory
New York, September 8, 2010-Reigning USA Half-Marathon champion
Antonio Vega, 2009 USA Cross Country Championship runner-up Tim Nelson,
and 2008 Olympian Blake Russell are part of a robust field of American
standouts that will be joined by Canadian 10,000-meter record-holder
Simon Bairu and Mexican standout Madaí Pérez at the ING New York City
Marathon 2010 on Sunday, November 7.
Leading the American contingent are the previously announced defending
men's champion Meb Keflezighi, 2008 Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein, and 2008
Olympic 10,000-meter bronze medalist Shalane Flanagan, making her debut
at the marathon distance.
In conjunction with the ING New York City Marathon, New York Road
Runners will host the 2010 USA Women's Marathon Championship, offering a
special USA Championship-only prize purse of $150,000.
Other top contenders for the United States at the ING New York City
Marathon 2010 include 1996 Olympian Linda Somers Smith, Katie MacGregor,
Mary Akor, Paige Higgins, Serena Burla, and Sally Meyerhoff in the
women's race, and 2006 women's wheelchair winner Amanda McGrory and last
year's men's wheelchair runner-up Krige Schabort.
"We are so pleased to welcome this slate of phenomenal runners and
stories," said Wittenberg. "We have it all in this year's race:
debutants like Tim and Simon, comeback runners like Blake and Serena,
and former champions like Amanda and Krige. The athletes announced today
join our already robust and exciting fields."
Vega, 26, of St. Paul, MN, a member of Team USA Minnesota, won the 2010
USA Half-Marathon Championship in January in a time of 1 hour, 1 minute,
54 seconds. Vega has a marathon PR of 2:13:47 that he earned this past
year at the Boston Marathon. This will be his first ING New York City
Marathon for Vega, a former NCAA All-American at the University of
"I am really excited to run my first-ever ING New York City Marathon, as
this will be a great opportunity to compete against some of the world's
best marathoners in a truly first-class event," said Vega. "I am looking
forward to racing on the streets of New York on November 7."
Nelson, 26 of Portland, OR, represented the United States in the 10,000
meters at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, and has finished as a
USA Championship runner-up four times. He trains as part of the Nike
Oregon Track Club. This will be his first career marathon.
Bairu, 27, currently resides in Portland, OR, where he trains with
fellow ING New York City Marathon entrants Nelson and Flanagan as part
of the Nike Oregon Track Club. Bairu set the Canadian 10,000-meter
record with a time of 27:23.63 at the Payton Jordan Cardinal
Invitational in May. He also won the P.F. Chang's Rock 'n Roll
Half-Marathon in Arizona in January. Bairu will be making his marathon
debut in New York City.
Russell, 35, of Marina, CA, will be making her marathon comeback; she
gave birth to a son, Quinn, in April 2009. Russell finished eighth at
the USATF Cross Country Championships in February. She placed third at
the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Women's Marathon and earned a spot
on the marathon Olympic team.
"The ING New York City Marathon was the first marathon I watched on
television, over 10 years ago, and is what planted the marathon seed in
my head," said Russell. "It will be my first marathon since the Olympics
and since having a baby, and I could not think of a more exciting or
more prestigious event for my return."
Pérez, 30, of Tlaxcala, Mexico, finished third at the NYC Half-Marathon
in March in 1:09:45. She finished 19th in the 2008 Olympic marathon.
Pérez owns the Mexican national record in the marathon in a time of
Other top Americans in the field:
- Somers Smith, 49, of Arroyo Grande, CA, was a 1996 Olympian in the
marathon. In 2010, she set the women's 45-49 10-mile record in 57:09 and
placed sixth at the Honda LA Marathon in 2:36:33.
- McGregor, 33, of St. Louis Park, MN, is the 2010 USA 15K champion and
has won four other USA Championships. A member of Team USA Minnesota,
McGregor set her marathon personal best at the ING New York City
Marathon in 2008, finishing 10th in 2:31:14.
- Akor, 33, of Hawthorne, CA, has numerous marathon victories under her
belt, including a win at this year's Clico Trinidad & Tobago
International Marathon. The Nigerian-born Akor has twice represented the
United States at the World Championships Marathon (2005 and 2007).
- Higgins, 28, of Flagstaff, AZ, was the top American woman at the 2010
Boston Marathon when she finished in 2:36:00. Higgins, the 2008 USA 25K
Champion, will be making her ING New York City Marathon debut.
- Burla, 28, of Ellisville, MO, was second in the 2009 NYRR New York
Mini 10K, the 2009 USA 20K Championship in New Haven, CT, and the 2010
USA Half-Marathon Championship in Houston. Shortly after the Houston
race, Burla was diagnosed with a malignant tumor in her hamstring and
underwent surgery at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York
City to remove the cancer as well as a portion of her bicep femoris
muscle. Burla has had a quick recovery; she won the Boston Scientific
Heart of Summer 10K on July 24, her first race since the surgery. This
will be Burla's marathon debut.
- Meyerhoff, 26, of Maricopa, AZ, saw success in New York City earlier
this year when she won the More Magazine | Fitness Magazine Women's
Half-Marathon in April. Meyerhoff was also the 2009 USA 25K champion.
- Schabort, 46, of Cedartown, GA, will compete in his 10th ING New York
City Marathon in 2010. Originally from South Africa, Schabort has had
two victories in NYC (2002, 2003) and finished in second place in 2009
by less than a second.
- McGrory, 24, of Champaign, IL, has been riding a wave of victory since
2009, when she won the BUPA Great North Run (half-marathon), Grandma's
Marathon, and the London Marathon. In 2010, McGrory won the Los Angeles
Marathon. The 2006 ING New York City Marathon champion is back in 2010
for her fourth NYC race.