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Strong Group of Americans Headed to ING NYC Marathon
By David Monti
(c) 2008 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

NEW YORK (30-Sep) -- A strong group of American athletes will see how they stack up against some of the world's best runners when the line up for the 38th edition of the ING New York City Marathon on Sunday, Nov. 2.  Their burden is great as no American has crossed the finish line first here since 1982, but this is a determined group.

"Everybody knows that New York is the race to run in the fall," said three-time Olympian Abdi Abdirahman of Tucson, Ariz., in a statement.  "I know the competition will be really tough, but I'm going there to try to win it.  That's how I always run."

Abdirahman, who has a marathon personal best of 2:08:56 set in Chicago in 2006, will be running New York for the third time.  He finished a disappointing 14th in his marathon debut here in 2004 when his Achilles tendon ruptured around the 20 mile mark.  Like a racing car with a flat tire, he limped to the finish line in 2:17:09.  Undeterred, he came back the following year and set a then personal best 2:11:34 to finish fifth.  Abdirahman ran the Olympic Trials marathon here last November but dropped out.

Four other prominent USA men will be making their New York City Marathon debuts: Jason Lehmkuhle of Minneapolis, Minn.; James Carney of Boulder, Colo.; Josh Rohatinsky of Portland, Ore.; and Steve Sundell of Redwood City, Calif.  Each of these men ran the Olympic Trials marathon here last November, all setting personal bests.  Lehmkuhle finished fifth in 2:12:54, Carney was 14th in 2:16:54, Rohatinsky was ninth in 2:15:22 (debut), and Sundell was 15th in 2:16:54.

"It's a star-spangled banner group of top Americans running New York this year," said race director and New York Road Runners president and CEO Mary Wittenberg.  "They come to New York believing in themselves and knowing they belong on our biggest stage in marathon running."


The runner-up at the women's Olympic Trials marathon last April, Magdelena Lewy Boulet of Oakland, Calif. (2:30:19 PB), and  four-time U.S. national champion, Katie McGregor of St. Louis Park, Minn. (2:32:36 PB), will join 2007 world championships bronze medalist Kara Goucher in the all-women's professional race at New York.  Both Lewy Boulet and McGregor have run New York before and are familiar with its challenging course and lack of pacemakers, something of a throwback in the current era when there is so much emphasis on achieving world records on flat courses.

"I'm really excited to run this year's ING New York City Marathon," said Lewy Boulet who was forced to drop out of the Beijing Olympic Marathon when a banged-up knee made it impossible for her to finish.  "After the disappointment of my injury in Beijing, I'm eager to get back out and prove myself against the world's best marathoners, and New York always has a stellar field."

The last American man to win New York was Alberto Salazar in 1982, while the last American woman to win was Miki Gorman in 1977.  But Wittenberg is optimistic about this year's class.

"Abdi, Magdalena, Katie, Jason, James, and Josh join Kara to make our most formidable team of Americans in years, with each a factor in his or her own right," she said.

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