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Khannouchi to Make Professional NYC Road Racing Debut
By David Monti
(c) 2007 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
Editor's Note: David Monti is the elite athlete coordinator for the ING NYC Marathon run by the New York Road Runners

Former marathon world record holder and the only man to break 2:06 three times for the distance, Khalid Khannouchi, will make his professional road racing debut in New York City on Saturday at the third edition of the Healthy Kidney 10-K, event organizers announced today.

"At long last, America's fastest marathoner will run here in New York City as our hometown favorite," commented Mary Wittenberg, the president and CEO of the New York Road Runners.

At Saturday's race, Khannouchi, 35, will face a stiff challenge from 2005 IAAF World Championships 5000m bronze medalist, Craig Mottram of Australia, and U.S. Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein.  The field also contains American up-and-comers Matt Gonzeles, Patrick Gildea and Justin Young, plus a group of international challengers led by Michael Aish of New Zealand, Richard Kiplagat of Kenya and Andrew Letherby of Australia.  Some of the top Tri-State club runners are also expected to take part.

"Central Park is a hotbed of racing this year," Wittenberg added.  "We know the men will turn on the heat to go for the win.  The Americans will get a bonus: Most of this race is on our Olympic Trials course."

The U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Men's Marathon will be held in New York City on Nov. 3, one day before the ING New York City Marathon.

Khannouchi, a native of Morocco who once washed dishes for a living, failed to finish the Flora London Marathon last month.  He's looking for a positive experience in New York to get his year back on track.

"I'm very excited about running in New York City, especially in what has so far been a disappointing season," said Khannouchi.  "I look forward to competing and doing my best."

Khannouchi has a 10-K personal best of 27:58.

In addition to a $20,000 prize money purse, a $20,000 bonus is on the line for a new Central Park record, currently 28:10 by Paul Koech of Kenya in 1997.

The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates is sponsoring this race to benefit the National Kidney Foundation, Inc., in appreciation of American medical excellence in the kidney transplant field. The late UAE president Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al-Nahyan benefited from American expertise, knowledge, and research when he received a kidney transplant in 2000.

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