Olympic Champion Tiki Gelana to Face Edna Kiplagat, Sharon Cherop at 2012 ING NYC Marathon - World Marathon Majors Leader Mary Keitany Is Not Competing

LetsRun.com
September 18, 2012

Today the New York Road Runners announced that Olympic champion Tiki Gelana of Ethiopia will run the 2012 ING New York City Marathon where she will face Olympic bronze medallist Tatyana Arkipova of Russia, defending champ Firehiwot Dado of Ethiopia, 2011 World Champion and 2012 ING NYC Champion Edna Kiplagat of Kenya, and 2012 Boston Champion Sharon Cherop of Kenya.

Gelana, the Olympic champion, is obviously the headliner. Gelana burst onto the scene this year by winning Rotterdam last spring in 2:18:58, an Ethiopian record. Then she followed that up by winning the Olympics despite falling early in the race on the rain soaked streets of London versus the "greatest women's field ever assembled." Arkipova, the silver medallist in the steeplechase at the 2007 World Championships, was a mediocre marathoner before running the steeple and then returning to the marathon and getting the bronze in London. Kiplagat (20th at the Olympics) is a force to be reckoned with as she won the 2011 World Championships in Korea and the 2010 New York City Marathon. Cherop, who won the Boston Marathon earlier this year and was a bronze medallist at the World Championships last year, was not selected for the Kenyan Olympic team. She and last year's surprise champion Firehiwot Dado should be the freshest as neither ran the Olympics.

The big news not in today's field announcement is that the World Marathon Majors leader Mary Keitany of Kenya, who went into the Olympics as the favorite but ended up 4th,  is out of the race. This morning NYRR Head Mary Wittenberg tweeted, ""Disappointed mary keitany dropped out of INGNYCM last night. Fun 2 host mary & her adorable 3 year old son."

Keitany's withdrawal opens up the possibility of Edna Kiplagat or Sharon Cherop winning the $500,000 World Marathon Marathon Majors title by winning New York. The marathoners are awarded points based on performances in the World Marathon Majors races over a two year cycle. The winner of the World Marathon Majors title gets $500,000. Second place gets nothing. Keitany leads the current standings with 65 points, and the only way she can be surpassed by Kiplagat or Cherop is by either one of them winning in New York.

It is a strong women's field that also includes the previously announced Kim Smith of New Zealand and 2012 U.S. Olympians Julie Culley, Amy Hastings, and Janet Bawcom. In our minds, Gelana is the favorite, Kiplagat has the credentials to challenge, Cherop has a lot to prove, and Arkipova is a wild card. Cherop is in good form as she just ran the second fastest half-marathon ever on US soil last weekend in Philly. It should be another exciting Sunday in November on the streets of New York. And fortunately for the first time in ages, American can watch it live on TV (see below).

*Wilson Kipsang and Moses Mosop Were Announced in the 2012 NYC Men's Field As Well

****More from the NYRR Press Release:

Nationally, the telecast will be available on ESPN2, online at WatchESPN.com, and—for fans who receive their video subscription from an affiliated provider—on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app. Locally, New Yorkers can watch the race on WABC-TV and 7online.com.

*** 

Kiplagat, 32, of Kenya, is the 2011 World Championships marathon gold medalist and is ranked number three by the ARRS amongst the world's marathoners. She finished second in the 2012 Virgin London Marathon with a personal best time of 2:19:50, earning a spot on the Kenyan Olympic marathon team. Kiplagat won the 2010 ING New York City Marathon in a time of 2:28:20. She also won this year's NYRR New York Mini 10K. Kiplagat is ranked second on the 2011-2012 WMM leaderboard with 50 points. 

"I've always loved running on the streets of New York, so I was really disappointed last year to miss the ING New York City Marathon because of the knee injury from my terrible fall at the World Championships," said Kiplagat. "I am, of course, very, very happy to be invited back to NYC this year, and will be doing my best to try to win the race again."

***

Cherop, 28, of Kenya, is the 2012 Boston Marathon champion and 2011 World Championships marathon bronze medalist. She claimed a position as one of the top marathoners in the world with an 11-minute personal best of 2:22:42 to win the 2010 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon—the fastest women's time ever run in Canada. Her marathon personal best of 2:22:39 was set at the 2012 Dubai Marathon. She is ranked third on the 2011-2012 WMM leaderboard with 45 points; this will be her ING New York City Marathon debut.

***

Gelana, 24, of Ethiopia, won the gold medal in the 2012 Olympic women's marathon in an Olympic record time of 2:23:07. She broke the Ethiopian record at the 2012 Rotterdam Marathon, completing a solo run of 2:18:58 to win the race almost five minutes ahead of runner-up Valeria Straneo of Italy. She is now the fifth-fastest woman ever at the distance. She will be making her ING New York City Marathon debut.

***

Arkhipova, 29, of Russia, took bronze in the 2012 Olympic Games women's marathon. She was a silver medalist in the steeplechase at the 2007 World Championships and 2006 European Championships. This will be her ING New York City Marathon debut.

More NYC: Wilson Kipsang and Moses Mosop Announced

From the LRC Archives:
*Tiki Gelana Wins 2012 Olympic Marathon As Shalane Flanagan And Kara Goucher Finish 10th And 11th
*2011 ING New York City Marathon Women's Race Recap: Mary Keitany Beats Herself
*
2010 ING NYC Marathon: Edna Kiplagat Completes Magical Year, Shalane Impresses
*2012 Women's Olympic Marathon Preview: Mary Keitany Takes On The Greatest Women's Marathon Field Ever Assembled

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