New York, October 18, 2016 — The Rio 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Team – Amy Cragg, Shalane Flanagan, Desiree Linden, Meb Keflezighi, Galen Rupp, and Jared Ward – has been named Grand Marshals for the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 6, it was announced by New York Road Runners today.
At the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon, these internationally renowned runners will participate in race-week festivities, including the TCS New York City Marathon Opening Ceremony Presented by United Airlines and contribute to the live race broadcast on WABC-TV, Channel 7 and ESPN2. On race day all of the team members with the exception of Rupp – who will be unable to attend due to family commitments – will ride in the official Grand Marshal vehicle through the 26.2-mile marathon route with Peter Ciaccia, president of events for New York Road Runners and race director of the TCS New York City Marathon.
Cragg, a two-time Olympian, was ninth in the Rio 2016 Olympic Marathon after finishing first at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Team Trials. A former college teammate of Linden at Arizona State, Cragg also won the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Team Trials, and she was 20th at the 2013 New York City Marathon.
Flanagan, a four-time Olympian, was the top American women’s finisher in the Rio Olympic Marathon, placing sixth. She also holds a bronze medal from the Beijing 2008 Olympic 10,000 meters – becoming only the second American woman to medal in the distance – and is a two-time USATF Marathon champion, taking the titles in 2010 and 2012. Flanagan took second place at the 2010 New York City Marathon.
Linden finished just behind Flanagan in Rio, taking seventh in her second Olympic marathon. She was the fastest American woman at both the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon and 2015 Boston Marathon, finishing fifth and fourth in those races, respectively. A regular participant in the NYRR New York Mini 10K, Linden has finished as high as second place at both the Boston and Chicago marathons.
Keflezighi, an NYRR Team for Kids Ambassador, finished 33rd at the Rio 2016 Olympic Marathon and starred in the Big Apple in 2009 when he became the first American in 27 years to win the New York City Marathon. The four-time Olympian has finished in the top 10 in New York eight times and has appeared in the race 10 times.
Rupp sizzled in his Olympic marathon debut in Rio, taking the bronze medal to become just the fourth American man to medal in the distance in the last 100 years and 10th in the modern Olympic era after finishing first in the event at February’s U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. He is a seven-time national champion over 10,000 meters and finished fifth in the distance in Rio. Rupp made his New York City road racing debut at the 2011 NYC Half, finishing third.
Ward made his Olympic debut in Rio, finishing sixth with a personal-best after taking third at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. A statistics professor at BYU off the roads, Ward was the top finisher at the 2015 USATF Marathon Championships, 25km Championships and 20km Championships.
This honor for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Team represents the fourth time in the history of the New York City Marathon that the race has featured a Grand Marshal. The marathon’s first Grand Marshal was in 1979, when Czech running legend Emil Zatopek was given the honor. Zatopek still stands today as one of the greatest distance runners of all time, having won three gold medals at the Helsinki 1952 Olympics in the 5,000 meters, 10,000 meters, and marathon. In 2003, Grete Waitz of Norway became the marathon’s second Grand Marshal. One of the most celebrated marathoners ever, Waitz, a New York Road Runners Hall of Famer, won a record nine New York City Marathon titles. Last year, Brooklyn-raised filmmaker and quintessential New York sports fan Spike Lee served as the Grand Marshal, and has since become a member of the NYRR Advisory Council.
The U.S. Olympic Marathon Team’s role as Grand Marshals will highlight a star-studded American professional athlete field, which will include 12 men and 11 women who competed at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, and nine U.S. athletes who competed at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. The 2016 TCS New York City Marathon total prize purse of $803,000 will include a USA Division for both men’s and women’s professional runners for the first time in a decade. The USA Division will total $116,000, with the top male and female American finisher each taking home $25,000.
The 2016 TCS New York City Marathon will be televised live on Sunday, November 6, on WABC-TV, Channel 7 in the New York tristate area from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET, and for the rest of the nation on ESPN2 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET.
***Editor’s note: Below are some quotes from the Olympians***
“With a fantastic showing in Rio, the U.S. Olympic Marathon Team proved to the world the future is bright for American distance running. We’re honored to have Shalane, Des, Amy, Meb, Galen and Jared celebrate their amazing accomplishments, and represent the many talented Team USA Olympians, Paralympians, and all other U.S. athletes competing in the TCS New York City Marathon, as this year’s Grand Marshals.”
-Peter Ciaccia, NYRR President, Events, and Race Director, TCS New York City Marathon
“Our mission at New York Road Runners is to help and inspire people through running, and that’s exactly what the U.S. Olympic Marathon Team did with their performances in Rio. We’re excited to have the group who inspired a nation of runners, particularly so many young people, as our TCS New York City Marathon Grand Marshals.”
-Michael Capiraso, NYRR President and CEO
“In Formula 1 you have Monaco, in tennis there is Wimbledon, in golf you have The Masters, and in the people’s sport of running there is the TCS New York City Marathon. It is an incredible honor to be a Grand Marshal in this prestigious event and watch as everyone lays their hearts on the line. Good luck to everyone competing as you battle through the Five Boroughs.”
-Amy Cragg, two-time U.S. Olympic Marathon Team Trials winner
“What an honor to have the unique experience of being one of the Grand Marshals of the TCS New York City Marathon. I look forward to cheering on all the runners from our lead vehicle and then the finish line. I know the festivities will have me dreaming of my own return to the streets of New York.”
-Shalane Flanagan, four-time Olympian
“I’m always thrilled to be in New York during TCS New York City Marathon weekend, but what an incredible honor to be invited by NYRR as a Grand Marshal this year. It’s tough to beat pounding the New York pavement and mixing it up with competitors on race day, but I’m sure sharing the lead vehicle with my Olympic teammates will rival some of my best marathon experiences. I’m looking forward to sharing the road with 50,000 amazing runners on November 6.”
-Desiree Linden, two-time Olympian
“I am very honored and excited to serve as a Grand Marshal for the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon. I have run this special race 10 times since my marathon debut in 2002. It will be fun, but a little different, to view this great race course and city on a lead vehicle instead of chasing the lead vehicles.”
–Meb Keflezighi, NYRR Team for Kids Ambassador and four-time Olympian
“Thanks to the NYRR for inviting me to take part in the New York City Marathon Grand Marshall program. Unfortunately, I can’t be there due to family commitments, but I would like to wish all the runners a successful race.”
-Galen Rupp, Olympic marathon bronze medalist
“I am more than excited and honored to be invited for a first-rate New York City tour. The TCS New York City Marathon is a must-run for me, and someday I plan to be on the streets vying with the world’s best for a top finish. I’m also honored to be attending with my Olympic teammates, a group I have looked up to for years. This will be an experience of a lifetime.”
-Jared Ward, U.S. Olympian
About the TCS New York City Marathon
The TCS New York City Marathon is the premier event of New York Road Runners (NYRR) and the largest marathon in the world. Over 1,000,000 people have finished the race since its first running in 1970 with just 127 entrants and 55 finishers running four laps around Central Park. The race expanded to all five boroughs in 1976 and is now in its 40th year as a five-borough affair. Held annually on the first Sunday of November, the race features 50,000 runners including the world’s top professional athletes and a vast range of competitive, recreational, and charity runners. Participants from over 125 countries tour the city, starting on Staten Island at the foot of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and running through the neighborhoods of Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx before ending in Manhattan. In 2015, the inaugural NYRR Youth Invitational at the TCS New York City Marathon gave young runners the opportunity to run 1.8 miles of the race course in Central Park, beginning near mile 24 and finishing at the famed TCS New York City Marathon finish line. More than one million spectators and thousands of volunteers line the city streets in support of the runners, while millions more watch the live television broadcast in the New York area on WABC-TV, Channel 7, nationally on ESPN2, and via various international broadcast partners around the world. The race is part of the Abbott World Marathon Majors, which features the world’s top marathons—Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago, and New York—and crowns the top professional male and female marathoners each year. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), a leading global IT services, consulting, and business solutions organization, is the premier partner of NYRR and the title sponsor of the TCS New York City Marathon. The 46th running of the TCS New York City Marathon is set for November 6, 2016. To learn more, visitwww.tcsnycmarathon.org.