FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Lel to Still Run New York
NEW YORK, Oct 30 - The 2003 New York City Marathon champion and reigning
London Marathon champion Martin Lel is remaining in the field for the ING
New York City Marathon on Sunday despite a recent injury to his lower right
leg according to his manager in a statement released today by race
"He started to feel the pain about three weeks and in the last 10 days the
pain became stronger and stronger but today he went for training and the
situation looks better," said Federico Rosa in an e-mail sent to New York
Road Runners officials over the weekend.
It is the second consecutive year that Lel's status for the race has been
thrown into doubt. Last year he was unable to defend his title when a thigh
injury knocked him out before race day.
"Martin's news highlights the challenges of the marathon," said race
director Mary Wittenberg. "Athletes like Martin push their bodies to their
extreme limits in a gamble to win the title. While we wish him well, this
news only adds to the intrigue of an already fascinating match up."
Lel, 27, of Kenya is one of three reigning champions of the Big Five
marathons in the men's field along with New York City defending champion
Hendrick Ramaala of South Africa and Boston winner Hailu Negussie of
Ethiopia. Along with world record holder Paul Tergat, New York course
record holder and 2001 champion Tesfaye Jifar of Ethiopia, Olympic silver
medal winner Meb Keflezighi of the United States, Jon Brown of Great
Britain and Mark Carroll of Ireland, the men's field is the strongest ever
in the race history according to race officials.
Lel won the London Marathon in 2:07:26 in April and had been rounding in
top form before the injury with a fourth place finish at the Lisbon
Half-Marathon (59:42) in September before the injury .