Past Champions Sally Kipyego, Caroline Rotich Along With Top Americans Molly Huddle And Desiree Linden Headline Women’s Field For 2015 United Airlines NYC Half-Marathon On March 15th

Former NYC Half champions Sally Kipyego and Caroline Rotich, both of Kenya, will lead a lineup that includes 5000-meter American record-holder Molly Huddle and American marathon standout Desiree Linden. Race will air live in New York on ABC7 and stream live on WatchABC, 7online, and ESPN3 via WatchESPN.

Press Release
February 24, 2015

New York —Defending champion Sally Kipyego and two-time NYC Half champion Caroline Rotich will lead an elite women’s contingent featuring American distance-running icons Molly Huddle and Desiree Linden at the 2015 United Airlines NYC Half on Sunday, March 15, 2015, it was announced today by Mary Wittenberg, president and CEO of New York Road Runners.

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“We’re thrilled to welcome such an impressive group of world-class women to the United Airlines NYC Half,” said Wittenberg. “Having Sally and Caroline compete against two of America’s best in Desi and Molly and so many other great athletes from around the globe is a treat for the thousands of runners, spectators and live broadcast audience experiencing the race.  It’s the perfect way to celebrate the 10th running of our signature NYRR Five Borough series event.”

Kipyego, 29, a Kenyan who lives and trains in Eugene, OR, is the defending United Airlines NYC Half champion and the event record-holder with a time of 1:08:31; the race was her debut at the distance. She won a silver medal in the 10,000 meters at both the 2011 IAAF World Outdoor Track and Field Championships and the 2012 Olympics, where she also finished fourth in the 5000 meters. In 2014, she was the fastest 10,000-meter runner in the world. She won nine NCAA Division I Championships while at Texas Tech University, tied for the most NCAA Championships in history, and she is the only woman to win three consecutive NCAA Cross Country Championships. The 2015 NYRR Millrose Games 3000-meter champion finished third and fourth at the 2011 and 2013 NYRR Dash to the Finish Line 5K, respectively.

“It is a privilege to visit and enjoy New York City while getting a chance to mingle and compete with some of the best athletes in the world,” said Kipyego. “I’m thrilled to be racing the United Airlines NYC Half again!”

Rotich, 30, a Kenyan who lives and trains in Santa Fe, NM, is a two-time NYC Half champion with victories in 2011 and 2013. The former NYC Half event record-holder (1:08:52, 2011) won the 2013 Prague Marathon, and has had five top-10 finishes in World Marathon Majors races: fourth at the 2014 Tokyo Marathon, fifth at the 2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, seventh at the 2011 New York City Marathon, fourth at the 2011 Boston Marathon, and eighth at the 2010 New York City Marathon. She represented Kenya at the 2011 IAAF World Championships in the marathon and won both the 2010 Grandma’s Half Marathon and the 2010 B.A.A. Half Marathon.

Linden, 31, of Washington, MI, finished second at the 2011 Boston Marathon with a personal-best time of 2:22:38, a breakout performance in which she ran the then-fastest Boston Marathon time by an American woman. The 2012 Olympian placed fifth overall and was the top American at the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon. Although injury prevented her from finishing the 2012 Olympic Marathon after placing second in the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon, she came back strong, placing third in the 2013 Oakley New York Mini 10K, fifth in the 2013 Berlin Marathon, and 10th at the 2014 Boston Marathon. She returns to the United Airlines NYC Half after placing seventh last year.

“Having raced in New York three times last year, it’s no secret I’ve become hooked on racing through the streets of New York City,” said Linden. “I’m thrilled to head back to the Big Apple and compete in this year’s United Airlines NYC Half. NYRR always puts together an amazing field, which makes New York the perfect place to test my fitness as I build into spring racing. Training is progressing well and I’m anxious to see how I match up against some of the world’s best.”

For the first time in its 10-year history, the United Airlines NYC Half will feature a separate start for the professional women at 7:18 a.m., 12 minutes before the professional men and first wave of runners. The 2015 United Airlines NYC Half will air live in New York on ABC7 and WatchABC from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. EDT and on 7online from 7:00-10:30 a.m. Outside of the New York area, coverage will also be available on ESPN3 via WatchESPN from 7:00-10:30 a.m. on computers, tablets, smartphones, Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox 360 and Xbox One for those who have video or internet subscriptions from affiliated providers. International viewers can watch the broadcast from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. EDT via a variety of global broadcast partners (international viewers should check local listings).

Additional Top Athlete Backgrounds and Notable Performances

  • Joyce Chepkirui, 26, of Kenya, is the fastest marathoner in the field with a personal best of 1:06:19, which she ran to win the 2014 Prague Half Marathon. The 2014 UAE Healthy Kidney 10K champion won the gold medal at both the 2014 Commonwealth Games and African Championships in the 10,000 meters. In 2011, she owned the top two times in the world in the 10K, and in 2013 she ran a personal-best of 30:37 at the distance, the sixth-fastest time in history. In 2010, she placed fifth at the IAAF World Half-Marathon Championships.
  • Buzunesh Deba, 27, of Ethiopia, who resides in the Bronx, NY, was the 2014 NYC Half runner-up with a personal best of 1:08:59. The two-time New York City Marathon runner-up (2011, 2013) has won eight of the 16 marathons she has completed in her career. She is one of only 18 women to break 2:20:00 at the distance, setting a personal best of 2:19:59 to finish second at the 2014 Boston Marathon.
  • Rkia El Moukim, 27, of Morocco, finished sixth with an impressive debut performance of 2:28:12 at the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon. She ran her personal-best half-marathon at the 2014 International Half-Marathon of Marrakech with a time of 1:10:03, and defended her title one year later. In 2014, she set the half-marathon event record at the Hy-Vee Road Races at the Drake Relays. Earlier this year she finished third at the Adana Liberation Day International Half-Marathon.
  • Sabrina Mockenhaupt, 34, of Germany, has won an astounding 40 national titles, the most of any German runner in history. The three-time Olympian at 10,000 meters won the 2008 Frankfurt Marathon, finished fourth in the 2010 Berlin Marathon, and finished seventh in the 2013 New York City Marathon. She placed fourth at the 2013 NYC Half and owns a personal best of 1:08:45.
  • Lanni Marchant, 30, of Canada, is the Canadian record-holder in the marathon and half-marathon with times of 2:28:00 and 1:10:47, respectively. Last summer, she placed fourth at the Commonwealth Games in the marathon. She represented Canada at the 2013 IAAF World Marathon Championships and four Chiba Ekiden relays (2008, 2010, 2011, 2012).
  • Jip Vastenburg, 20, of the Netherlands, is the 2013 5000-meter European Junior champion and finished fourth at the 2014 European Championships in the 10,000 meters. Although she is one of the younger entrants in the field, she has won four national titles: the half-marathon in 2014, the 5000 meters in 2014, and the 10K in 2014 and 2015.
  • Hanae Tanaka, 25, of Japan, was the runner-up at the 2013 Yamaguchi All-Corporate Half-Marathon Championships, finishing with a personal best of 1:09:18. Earlier this year she finished eighth at the Marugame Half Marathon with a time of 1:11:24 in preparation for her United Airlines NYC Half debut.
  • Annie Bersagel, 31, originally from Greeley, CO, and currently residing in Oslo, Norway, is the 2013 USA Marathon champion and the 2006 USA Half-Marathon champion. She represented the United States at the 2014 IAAF World Half-Marathon Championships, finishing 13th in a personal best of 1:10:10. She was the second American finisher at the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon and recently finished fifth at the 2015 USA Half-Marathon Championships.
  • Adriana Nelson, 35, of Boulder, CO, is the 2013 USA Half-Marathon champion and was the top American at the 2013 New York City Marathon. She has had three top-10 finishes at World Marathon Majors races: second at the 2007 Chicago Marathon, eighth at the 2008 London Marathon, and sixth at the 2010 Berlin Marathon. She competed at the 2005 and 2012 World Half-Marathon Championships for Romania and the United States, respectively.

Top American Professional Women

Name Personal Best Half-Marathon Twitter Handle
Molly Huddle 1:09:04 @MollyHuddle
Annie Bersagel 1:10:10 @AnnieBersagel
Desiree Linden 1:10:34 @des_linden
Adriana Nelson 1:11:09 @adi_nelson
Kristen Zaitz 1:12:57 @kfzruns

 Top International Professional Women

Name Personal Best Half-Marathon Twitter Handle
Joyce Chepkirui, KEN 1:06:19
Sally Kipyego, KEN 1:08:31 @sallykipyego
Sabrina Mockenhapt, GER 1:08:45 @RunningMocki
Caroline Rotich, KEN 1:08:52
Buzunesh Deba, ETH 1:08:59 @DebaBuzunesh
Hanae Tanaka, JPN 1:09:18 @viva_helado
Rkia El Moukim, MAR 1:10:03
René Kalmer, RSA 1:10:37 @ReneKalmer
Lanni Marchant, CAN 1:10:47 @LJM5252
Iwona Lewandowska, POL 1:12:40
Jip Vastenberg, NED 1:13:15 @JipVastenburg
Natasha Wodak, CAN 1:14:06 @tasha_wodak
Mona Stockhecke, GER 1:14:57

New this year at the United Airlines NYC Half is the NYRR Times Square Kids’ Run—a 1500-meter out-and-back road race on Seventh Avenue for children ages 7 to 18 that starts and ends in Times Square.  An expected 1,000 kids, including 700 of NYRR’s Young Runners, will compete in the high school, middle school, and elementary school divisions alongside the runners in the United Airlines NYC Half.

A total of 20,828 runners crossed the finish line of the 2014 NYC Half, making it the largest NYC Half yet. Runners from more than 65 countries and all 50 states participated. Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya won the men’s race with a time of 1:00:50, and Sally Kipyego won the women’s race with an event-record time of 1:08:31.

About the United Airlines NYC Half

Founded in 1958, New York Road Runners has grown from a local running club to the world’s premier community running organization, whose mission is to help and inspire people through running. The United Airlines NYC Half is NYRR’s signature half-marathon, and the opening event of the NYRR Five-Borough Series. The race features a talented American and international professional athlete field, competitive, recreational, and charity runners, some 1,500 volunteers and thousands of spectators. The event offers the quintessential New York experience—a 13.1-mile tour of the Big Apple like no other—from the rolling hills of Central Park, up to Harlem, down through Times Square, along the Hudson River waterfront, to a finish in lower Manhattan. United Airlines, New York area’s largest airline, is the title sponsor of the United Airlines NYC Half and an NYRR foundation partner. To learn more, visit

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