The Five Women That Could Win The 2012 ING New York City Marathon

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Make That Six As We Are Discounting The Chances of Last Year’s Runner-Up

*2012 ING New York City Marathon Men’s Preview

by LetsRun.com
October 30, 2012

The women’s world record in the marathon is 2:15:25. This year six women have broken 2:20:00, ten have broken 2:21 and nearly thirty have broken 2:24:00 (29). Why do we start our women’s preview of the 2012 ING New York City Marathon with those stats?

Because we want to have justification for telling you that in reality we think there are only five women that could win Sunday’s race. Race organizers have listed 42 elite professional women (full list is at the bottom of this article) but just as we did in our men’s preview, we wanted to narrow that down to five names for you to focus on.

Thus, we looked at the field and realized that there are only five women in the field who have run sub 2:24 in the last five years. If you haven’t done that, we don’t see you winning on Sunday.

We break down the field by starting with “The Favorite,” before going to “Two Very Worth Challengers,” before ending with “Two That Are Much Less Likely To Win” which actually includes a sixth bonus pick – the American based Kim Smith.

The Favorite

Tiki Gelana

Tiki Gelana wins the 2012 Olympics marathon

1. Tiki Gelana

25 years old – 2:18:58 pb Rotterdam 2012 – ETH- Nike – 2012 Olympic champ

There is little to not like about Gelana. In the spring, she ran 2:18:58 at Rotterdam, becoming the fourth women in history to go sub 2:19 (there are now five as Mary Keitany also did it a week later in London). She followed that win up with a win at the Olympics despite a mid-race fall.

So she’s the Olympic champ and the one with the best PB in the field and she’s only 25. What could possibly be the knock on her? Nothing except for the fact that it’s her third marathon of the year. But she ran three marathons back in 2010 when she was a 2:28 runner. She has seemingly recovered well from the Olympics, as just six weeks after the Olympics she ran a 67:48 half marathon at the Bupa Great North Run.

At the press conference, we’ll certainly be asking some questions to see how her training/recovery has gone since then, but on paper, she is the woman to beat.

More: LRC Tiki Gelana Wins 2012 Olympic Marathon As Shalane Flanagan And Kara Goucher Finish 10th And 11th

Two Very Worth Challengers

Edna Kiplagat in Kenya in 2012

Edna Kiplagat earlier this year in Kenya

2. Edna Kiplagat

33 years old – 2:19:50 pb London 2012 – KEN – Nike – 2010 New York and 2011 World Champ

Last year, due to injury, Edna Kiplagat was unable to defend her New York crown from 2010. She’s back in 2011 and can not be discounted.

After winning Worlds last year after a fall mid-race (maybe falling is a good thing?) and then missing New York, she ran a 2:19:50 pb at the Virgin London Marathon in April. At face value, her Olympic result (20th – 2:27:52) makes it look like it was the first sub-par legitimate marathon of her career.

But Kiplagat didn’t play it safe at the Olympics. She’s the one that whittled down the lead pack to six by forcing the pace some 1:24 into the race, before paying the price at the end. Like Gelana, she too has recovered nicely from the Olympics as she ran a nice 67:41 half-marathon at the Bupa Great North Run, in a race where she beat Gelana by one spot and hung with the great Tirunesh Dibaba until the final 400.

At a minimum, a top three result is something to expect from Kiplagat as except for the Olympics she’s finished 1st, 1st,  3rd, 1st and 2nd in the five marathon she has finished since becoming a marathoner in 2010.

More: Gilbert Koech and Edna Kiplagat and family at home in Kenya in 2010

Gilbert Koech (l) and Edna Kiplagat (r) and family at home in Kenya in 2010

Sharon Cherop Winning Boston in 2012

Sharon Cherop winning in Boston earlier this year

3. Sharon Cherop

28 years old – 2:22:39 pb Dubai 2012 – KEN – Nike – 2012 Boston champ, 2011 Worlds bronze

The reigning Boston champ has never run faster than 2:22 but she can’t be discounted. After PRing in Dubai to start the year, she beat both the heat and the entire field in a tactical Boston marathon (winning time 2:31:50).

And like the top two contenders in New York, she too has shown good recent fitness as she won the half in Philly on September 16th in 67:21. That’s the same day that Kiplagat ran 67:41 and Gelana ran 67:48 in the UK.

Two That Are Much Less Likely To Win

4. Tatyana Arkhipova

29 years old – 2:23:29 pb Olympics 2012 – RUS – Nike – 2012 Olympic bronze medallist

The former steeplechaser (silver medallist in 2007, 4th at the 2008 Olympics) has successfully moved up to the marathon and her last marathon was her best. In seven career marathons she had never broken 2:25, but at the Olympics, she ran 2:23:29 to get the final medal.

But honestly, she’ll need another career best performance in our mind if she is going to win on Sunday. Prior to the Olympics, she had been fifth in Tokyo and fifth in Berlin in her two previous marathons. Finishes like that are a far cry from winning in New York.

Buzunesh Deba

Buzunesh Deba struggling in September in Philly

5. Bizunesh Deba

25 years old – 2:23:19 pb New York 2011 – ETH – Nike – 2011 New York runner-up

Last year,the Bronx living Deba almost pulled a huge stunner when she ended up as the runner-up at the 2011 ING New York City Marathon. Deba finished just four seconds behind champ Firehiwot Dado. With Dado out with a nasty, infected blister, Dado is the top returner from last year (it’ worth noting that neither the men nor women’s champ is back from last year – when is the last time that happened?).

But we don’t think Beba really has any chance of winning on Sunday based on her recent form which has been non-existent. On paper, yes, she has a chance but unless we learn something big at the press -conferences, we are writing her off.

Why do we say that? Well Beba has done nothing this year. Last year, she was on fire winning marathons in LA and San Diego before getting second in New York. Along the way, she also won the Healthy Kidney 10k, raced Peachtree and Beach to Beacon and was racing a lot.

This year, she’s only got one result all year that we are aware of. A 74:55 half marathon in Philly on September 16th – which is miles from the 69:53 she ran in Philly last year before New York.

Kim Smith in Philly in 2011

Kim Smith en route to the fastest half-marathon ever run (67:11) on US soil in 2011

6. Kim Smith

30 years old – 2:25:21 pb London 2010 in her debut- NZL – RBK -

Since we are discounting Deba, we thought we’d throw in a sixth name as a potential winner as we need five potential winners and we wanted to get an American up on the board. Yes, we know Kim isn’t American but she’s been over her for 10 + years, went to Providence, lives and trains in Providence and after the Olympics got married (not too late to get a gift) to an American. So she’s close to being one.

Kim has never really had that big breakthrough in the marathon that she has dreamed of, but she has some good distance credentials. Three times, she’s gone under 68 at the half-marathon distance. She’s run 14:59 and 30:35 on the track and she’s never been afraid to go for it, as she was out front in Boston last year.

If she wins, it will be a big upset but weirder things have happened in New York. It should be remembered that South Africa’s Hendrick Ramaala never had a breakthrough in his first ten career marathons (only twice breaking 2:10) but won New York on try #11 in 2004 and now has  a 2:06:55 pb.

The question we will try to find out this week at the press conferences is, ‘How fit is Kim currently and has New York really been her focus?’ After finishing 15th at the Olympics in August, she got married on Sept. 1 in Maine and then had to focus on the BAA Half-Marathon which she won on October 7th in 70:57 and picked up a cool $100,000 in the process as part of a BAA marketing gimmick.


The full 2012 ING New York City Marathon elite women’s field appears below.

See our 2012 ING New York City Marathon Men’s Preview here.

Check back later in the week when we will talk about “The Americans” and cover the press conferences on-site in New York. At the end of the week, after the press conferences, we’ll give you our predictions.

2012 Elite ING New York City Marathon Women’s Field

BibLastFirstCitySTNationAgeAfiliationPBPB Venue
102DebaBuzuneshBronxNYETH25Nike2:23:19New York, 2011
103GelanaTikiAddis AbabaETH25Nike2:18:58Rotterdam, 2012
104FélixAna DulceBragaPOR30adidas2:25:40New York, 2011
105SmithKimProvidenceRINZL30Reebok2:25:21London, 2010
106KiplagatEdnaItenKEN33Nike2:19:50London, 2012
107CheropSharonMarakwetKEN28adidas2:22:39Dubai, 2012
108ArkhipovaTatyanaCheboksaryRUS29Nike2:23:29Olympic Games, 2012
109FukushiKayokoKyotoJPN30Wacoal/adidas2:24:38Chicago, 2011
110StraneoValeriaAlessandriaITA36Runner Team 99/Nike2:23:44Rotterdam, 2012
114ProkopcukaJelenaJurmalaLAT36Nike2:22:56Osaka, 2005
115KibetHildaCastricumNED31adidas2:24:27Rotterdam, 2011
116MockenhauptSabrinaCologneGER31Puma2:26:21Berlin, 2010
117HastingsAmyLeavenworthKSUSA28Brooks2:27:03Los Angeles, 2011
118OkuboEriTokyo, JapanJPN29Second Wind aC2:26:08Tokyo, 2012
119BurlaSerenaFalls ChurchVAUSA30Riadha/Mizuno2:28:27Seoul, 2012
120NelsonAdrianaFort CollinsCOUSA32Asics2:28:52London, 2008
121DemissieMisiker MekonninAlbuquerqueNMETH26adidas/West Side Runners2:25:21San Diego, 2011
122Da SilvaAdriana AparecidaSao PauloBRA31EC Pinheiros/Asics2:29:17Tokyo, 2012
123CulleyJulieAnnandaleNJUSA31Asics/NYAC15:05.38Olympic Games, 2012
124BawcomJanetFlagstaffAZUSA34Nike2:29:45Olympic Trials, 2012
125PritzMollyBoulderCOUSA24Asics2:31:52New York, 2011
126PartridgeSusanHalifax – West YorkshireGBR32Leeds City AC/VP City of Glasgow2:34:14London, 2011
127WilliamsAlishaColorado SpringsCOUSA30Boulder RC/adidas2:35:09Oly Trials, 2012
128ThomasWendyWindsorCOUSA33Boulder RC/adidas2:34:25Olympic Trials, 2012
129QuagliaEmmaGenoaITA32Nike2:31:15Milano, 2012
130FreyMichelleMinneapolisMNUSA30Saucony2:35:51Twin Cities, 2006
131AliyuAzizaBronxNYETH27West Side Runners2:36:55Duluth, 2011
132ThorvilsonLeahLittle RockARUSA33Marathonguide.com/Go! Running Road Crew2:37:26Little Rock, 2012
134DikosJackieIndianapolisINUSA33Athletic Annex2:45:26Indianapolis, 2010
136MolloyKirstenMount HuttonNSWAUS33Macquarie Hunter Athletics Club2:43:41Melbourne, 2011
137GacekMelissaWhite Bear LakeMNUSA36Run N Fun2:44:10Olympic Trials, 2008
138PorathNicholeNorthfieldMNUSA29Run N Fun2:44:12Olympic Trials, 2012
139KarlssonCharlotteStockholm, SwedenSWE30Hammarby IF2:48:37Stockholm, 2012
146KeatingPaulaMiramichiNBCAN46Unattached2:47:26Boston, 2011
160GurmuMuliyeBronxNYETH28West Side Runners2:39:55Dubai, 2007
162DiCamilloKatieProvidenceRIUSA25New Balance Boston32:31.97Palo Alto, 2012
163CummingsSarahNew YorkNYUSA23NYAC1:16:06Philadelphia, 2011
164HigginsLesleyNew YorkNYUSA32NYAC1:18:06NYC Half, 2012
165HullingerHeidiNew YorkNYUSA30NYAC1:18:10NYC Half, 2011
166CompostiJeannaNew YorkNYUSA31NYAC1:20:19Philadelphia, 2012
167LauretaniMariaNew YorkNYUSA38NYAC1:21:18Philadelphia, 2012
168BekeleMekidesJackson HeightsNYETH26West Side Runners2:47:50Richmond, 2011
169NealAdrian ChouinardColorado SpringsCOUSA29Boulder RC/adidas2:44:06Olympic Trials, 2012
Posted in: Professional