By David Monti
(c) 2010 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

NEW YORK (07-Apr) -- Olympic marathon medallists Meb Keflezighi and Deena Kastor, both of Mammoth Lakes, Calif., committed today to run the 2010 ING New York City Marathon, the New York Road Runners announced here today.  Keflezighi will attempt to retain the ING NYC Marathon title he won last year --the first by an American in 27 years-- while Kastor will attempt to win her first.

"With Meb's win last year and Deena's gutsy efforts over the years, they have become part of the magic and history of our marathon," said New York Road Runners president and CEO Mary Wittenberg in a statement.  "We are so pleased to welcome them back today, as we warmly welcome runners from around the globe to our ING NYC Marathon 2010."

For Keflezighi, 34, who will run the Boston Marathon in 12 days, this will be his sixth ING New York City Marathon appearance.  He made his marathon debut in New York in 2002, then finished second in 2004 and third in 2005 before winning a two-man duel with Kenyan Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot in last year's race, running a personal best 2:09:15.

"The ING New York City Marathon has been the core race in my marathon career," said Keflezighi in prepared remarks.  "I came back several times looking for that elusive victory and I finally got it. I hope that my victory on November 1, 2009, teaches us that while we may not accomplish our dreams and goals overnight, we need to stay committed."

Like Keflezighi, Kastor, 37, began her marathon career in New York.  While the rubble of the fallen World Trade Center still smoldered in 2001, Kastor set a then USA debut record of 2:26:58, finishing seventh overall and winning her first USA marathon title.  Subsequently, she failed to finish the 2004 race (after winning her Olympic Marathon bronze medal less than three months before), and finished sixth in 2006.  She also participated in the race in 2003 as a special pacer for women who were trying to qualify for the USA Olympic Marathon Trials.  Kastor has earned World Marathon Majors victories at Chicago in 2005 and London in 2006; she's running the Virgin London Marathon on April 25.

"I was brought to tears when Meb won [last year] against a stellar field of the world's best, and I'm inspired to commit to succeeding in New York come November," said Kastor through a statement.  "The ING New York City Marathon is a perfect representation of the diversity that the city is known for, and it's wonderful to be part of such high-spirited celebration of running."

On the same day that Keflezighi and Kastor committed to the event's professional division, the first recreational runners were selected out of a record pool of 120,000 in the marathon's annual entry lottery (it was the fourth consecutive year that over 100,000 runners had requested entry).  On a live streaming internet broadcast from the Parker Meridien Hotel near the race's Central Park finish line, the race announced that Victoria Salbu of Oslo, Norway, was the first runner to gain entry.

"A quantum leap in the number of marathon applicants, in the midst of the recession, speaks volumes about the importance of the ING NEW York City Marathon in the lives of so many," said Wittenberg, who is planning for a starting field of 42,000 to 43,000.




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