Local Elite Athletes to Compete against the World’s Best at the 2015 United Airlines NYC Half on Sunday, March 15

Brendan Martin, Megan Hogan, and Abiyot Endale will lead NYRR’s local elite talent against renowned professional athlete fields

Press Release
March 9, 2015

New York —The best local runners in the New York metropolitan area will take on the top professional runners in the world 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. Top-tier New York residents include 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials qualifier Brendan Martin of Smithtown, 2014 Hartford Half-Marathon champion Megan Hogan of Manhattan, and 2012 Hartford Marathon champion Abiyot Endale of the Bronx.

“The tremendous talent and experience of our top local elites has created one of the most competitive road-racing circuits in the country,” said Wittenberg. “Brendan, Megan, Abiyot, and all of our runners from the five boroughs and surrounding area are the pride of NYRR. Their passion for training and competing on the streets and in the parks of New York is unmatched, and we look forward to seeing them compete against a world-class field on their home turf at the 2015 United Airlines NYC Half”

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Many of these runners are from local New York City running clubs, including the New York Athletic Club, the Westchester Track Club, West Side Runners, and Central Park Track Club – New Balance. These clubs’ runners participate in many NYRR races throughout the year and are a significant asset to the local running community.

The New York Athletic Club’s Martin, 25, qualified for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials this past December, finishing sixth at the 2014 California International Marathon with a time of 2:16:28. Last year, he placed seventh at the Great Cow Harbor 10K and won the Hamptons Half-Marathon, setting the course-record. Before moving to the metropolitan area, Martin was a member of the Brooks-Hansons Distance Project in Michigan. He finished 13th at the 2012 Boston Marathon and 18th at the 2013 Fukuoka Marathon. The former Columbia Lion set his personal-best half-marathon time of 1:04:38 at the 2013 Grandma’s Half-Marathon, which served as the USA Half-Marathon Championships.

“I’m excited to compete against many of the world’s best runners right here in New York and in Central Park,” said Martin. “I grew up on Long Island and went to school in the city, so I’ve always identified myself as a New York guy. During my four years at Columbia, I ran a lot of miles in Central Park and it’s still one of my favorite places to run. Wearing the NYAC singlet in front of a home crowd will be a lot of fun.”

On the women’s side, also running with the New York Athletic Club, Hogan, 27, is the fastest local half-marathon runner in the field, having qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in a personal-best time of 1:12:12 to win the 2014 Hartford Half-Marathon. A former member of Team USA Minnesota, she finished third at the 2011 USA 15K Championships. The 2011 George Washington University graduate won the 2009 and 2010 Atlantic 10 Cross Country Championships and finished eighth place at the 2010 NCAA Cross Country Championships, her second consecutive All-American performance and third-straight appearance at the event. She was the first George Washington athlete to qualify for the national meet.

“I moved to New York City in the fall, and the United Airlines NYC Half will not only be my debut race as a member of NYRR, but also in New York City,” said Hogan. “I have heard how great the support from the community is here and I am so excited to experience it this weekend.”

Westchester Track Club’s Endale, 28, has won 10 NYRR race titles and has finished in the top five at NYRR races in an astounding 34 out of 43 attempts. In 2009, he won the NYRR Runner of the Year for the 20 to 24 year old age category. The 2012 Hartford Marathon champion and course record-holder earned a silver medal as a member of the Ethiopian team at the 2003 IAAF World Cross Country Championships and won the 2014 Carlsbad Marathon. His NYRR race highlights include victories at the 2010 and 2014 Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and the 2007 NYRR Men’s Team Championships, where he and his teammates captured the team title by sweeping the top-seven spots.

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 Local Elite NYRR Athlete Backgrounds and Notable Performances 

  • Harbert Okuti, 28, of New Paltz, NY, is a two-time NYRR 5-Borough Series: Bronx 10 Mile champion (2013, 2014) and the 2015 NYRR Washington Heights Salsa, Blues, and Shamrocks 5K champion. The former Iona College standout finished 19th at the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon.
  • Mathew Kiplagat, 32, of New Rochelle, NY, finished second in the 2012 Hartford Marathon (2:17:53) and fourth in the 2013 Grandma’s Marathon (2:12:09).
  • Daniel Wallace-Periac, 27, of New York, NY, ran a personal best of 1:04:47 at the 2013 Grandma’s Half-Marathon, which also served as the USA Half-Marathon Championships. He was a five-time All-MAAC conference selection at Iona College.
  • Allie Kieffer, 27, of New York, NY, has won three NYRR races in the last year: the 2015 Joe Kleinerman 10K, the 2014 Race to Deliver (4M), and the 2014 Japan Run (4M). She finished fifth at the 2012 USA 25K Championships and was the top American at the 2012 Carlsbad 5K.
  • Caroline LeFrak, 31, of Manhatan, is a 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials qualifier where she set her marathon personal best of 2:38:14. The 2005 recipient of the Honda Award, given to the nation’s most-outstanding athlete in cross country, was a five-time All-American at Columbia University.
  • Kathryn Martin, 63, of Northport, NY, started running at 30 and has won her age group an unprecedented 69 times in NYRR races. The highly decorated masters runner has set multiple age-group national and world records in distances ranging from 800 meters to 50K.

Top Local Elite Men

Name Personal Best Half-Marathon Twitter Handle
Harbert Okuti 1:03:52
Matthew Kiplagat 1:03:58
Abiyot Endale 1:04:01
Brendan Martin 1:04:38 @bmar89
Daniel Wallace-Periac 1:04:47
James Kelly 1:05:52
Jerry Faulkner 1:07:17 @JerryFaulkner
Thomas Young 1:06:48
Kerwin Vega 1:08:26 @Vega_Kerwin 

Top Local Elite Women

Name Personal Best Half-Marathon Twitter Handle
Megan Hogan 1:12:12
Caroline LeFrak 1:14:23 @EmpireAthletics
Caitlin Phillips 1:17:31
Alex Cadicamo 1:17:39
Cat Beck 1:17:43 @cat_beck
Marisa Cummings 1:18:39 @mar_cummings_
Kathryn Martin 1:23:54
Allie Kieffer Debut @AllieKieffer
Shannon Miller Debut @smillerm67

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.

For the latest 2015 United Airlines NYC Half news, updates, features and media information, visit the NYRR online media center and follow the NYRR Media and Public Relations department on Twitter (@nyrrnews).

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 2,200 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 unitedairlinesnychalf.nyrr.org.