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British Record-Holder Mo Farah to Make Half-Marathon Debut in New York City

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Date: 
03/08/2011 - 12:46

cache_sb_l_3c2c880b8d.jpgWill face strong international field including ING New York City Marathon champions Gebre Gebremariam and Marilson Gomes dos Santos on March 20, Edna Kiplagat, ING New York City Marathon 2010 women’s winner, also to compete in NYC Half - New York, March 6, 2011— Fresh off his repeat 3000-meter victory at the European Indoor Championships on Saturday, the European Championships outdoor 5000- and 10,000-meter gold medalist Mo Farah of Great Britain will headline an exciting international contingent, including ING New York City Marathon 2010 champion Gebre Gebremariam of Ethiopia and two-time marathon champion Marlison Gomes dos Santos of Brazil, at the NYC Half on Sunday, March 20, it was announced today by New York Road Runners president and CEO Mary Wittenberg.

“A strong field of stars continues to get stronger, including the addition of Mo, Gebre, Marlison, and our other international standouts on the men’s side, as well as Edna on the women’s,” said Wittenberg. “The NYC Half is truly a premier road race, and we are so pleased this amazing talent will join us later this month.”

Farah, Gebremariam, and dos Santos will see strong competition from both the United States and abroad. Previously announced Americans Ryan Hall, Meb Keflezighi, and Galen Rupp will toe the line, along with defending champion Peter Kamais of Kenya and Irish Olympian Alistair Cragg. Reigning ING New York City Marathon women’s champion Edna Kiplagat of Kenya will also run in the March 20 race against top competition including Kara Goucher of the United States.

Farah, 27, recently moved to Portland, OR, where he trains with Rupp under Alberto Salazar. Farah is the holder of British records for 3000 meters indoors (7:34.47), 5000 meters indoors (13:10.60) and outdoors (12:57.94), 5K (13:30), and 10K (27:44). At the 2010 European Championships, Farah became the first man in 20 years—and the fifth ever—to win both the 5000- and 10,000-meter gold medals.

This race will mark Farah’s second visit to NYC, where he finished second in the 2006 UAE Healthy Kidney 10K in 28:37. It will, however, mark his first attempt at the half-marathon distance. His longest race thus far has been the 2009 Bupa Great South Run (10 miles), which he won in 46:25.

“I’m looking forward to running my first half-marathon in New York on March 20,” said Farah. “My longest race to date is 10 miles and it will be interesting to see how I go in the longer distance. I ran in New York before in the Health Kidney 10K and really enjoyed the event and the way NYRR looked after the athletes. I have several years left to concentrate on track, but I know in the future I will move to the roads and this will be a good introduction.”

Farah has had a successful 2011, setting the British indoor 5000-meter record at the Aviva Grand Prix in Birmingham, England, just ahead of Rupp, who set the American record. He also won the Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross Country in January and finished second at 3000 meters in the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston.

Gebremariam, 26, won the ING New York City Marathon 2010 in his debut at the distance. He had a strong 2010, in which he won all but one race he started, including the UAE Healthy Kidney 10K, where he set the current Central Park course record of 27:42.

Dos Santos, 33, is the only South American champion of the ING New York City Marathon; he won in 2006 and 2008. Dos Santos holds numerous South American records, including the 5000 meters (13:19.43), 10,000 meters (27:28.12), and half-marathon (59:33).

Kiplagat, 31, of Kenya, won the ING New York City Marathon 2010 in only her third marathon start. She also won the Los Angeles Marathon earlier in 2010.

The men’s field will also feature Americans Abdi Abdirahman and Jason Lehmkuhle. The women’s side will also highlight American Serena Burla and Great Britain’s Jo Pavey. Others in the field:

· Kamais, 34, of Kenya, is the defending champion of the NYC Half; he ran 59:53 in 2010.

· Cragg, 30, of Ireland, is a two-time Olympian who has concentrated on the 3000-meter and 5000-meter distances. He earned a gold medal in the 2005 European Indoor Championships in the 3000 meters. Cragg recently moved up to the half-marathon distance, finishing seventh in last year’s NYC Half in 1:01:58.

· Madaí Pérez, 31, of Mexico, has one half-marathon victory already in 2011, when she won the Rock ’n’ Roll Arizona Half-Marathon in January in 1:11:49. Pérez has finished second (2008), third (2010), and fifth (2007) in the NYC Half-Marathon.

· Werknesh Kidane, 29, of Ethiopia, a former World Cross Country champion (8K) and World Championships silver medalist at 10,000 meters, won the Great Manchester Run 10K in May. She followed up her victory in England with a third-place finish at the NYRR New York Mini 10K in June.

· Jessica Augusto, 29, of Portugal, will make her New York City debut at the NYC Half. The reigning European Cross Country Champion, she competed in the Beijing Olympics in both the 5000 meters and the steeplechase. In 2009, Augusto won the Great North Run half-marathon in 1:09:08.

The NYC Half will be broadcast live on tv.nyrr.org beginning at 7:30 a.m., Sunday, March 20. It will follow the leaders around Central Park, through the heart of Times Square, and down the West Side Highway to the finish line. During the week, New York Road Runners Live can be seen on the same channel beginning at noon on Thursday, March 17 and Friday, March 18. New York Road Runners Daily Cool Down will also be shown Thursday through Sunday evenings during race week.

The NYC Half will again offer the largest half-marathon prize purse in the United States: $100,000. The men’s and women’s champions will each earn $20,000, the largest first-prize checks for a non-marathon race in the country. The race continues to attract leading professional athletes and recreational runners from around the world.

On a course designed to celebrate New York City, the NYC Half will take runners on a loop through Central Park, down Seventh Avenue through Times Square, across 42nd Street, and along the expansive West Side Highway to Battery Park in the heart of the city’s financial district, finishing with a view of the Statue of Liberty.

New York Road Runners

Headquartered in New York City, New York Road Runners is dedicated to advancing the sport of running, enhancing health and fitness for all, and meeting our community’s needs. Our goal is to use the expertise acquired in our 52-year history to empower all people to live fitter, healthier lives through participation in our races, community events, instruction and training resources, and youth programs. Our races and other events draw more than 300,000 people each year. The ING New York City Marathon, NYRR’s premier event, is the largest and most inclusive marathon in the world, attracting the world’s top professional runners every year and raising $30.8 million for charity in 2010. NYRR’s running-based youth programs, which currently serve more than 100,000 children in hundreds of schools and community centers, promote children’s health and fitness, character development, and personal achievement in underserved communities. For more information, visit www.nyrr.org.