Full Fields For The 2019 NYC Half-Marathon

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NYRR Press Release
February 21, 2019

Ben True, Buze Diriba, Ernst van Dyk, and Manuela Schär will aim to defend titles as TCS New York City Marathon champion Daniel Romanchuk also lines up

U.S. Olympian Des Linden to use event as final tune-up ahead of Boston Marathon title defense, while U.S. Olympic silver medalist Paul Chelimo will make his half-marathon debut

New York – The 2019 United Airlines NYC Half will feature a star-studded professional athlete field featuring nine Olympians and nine Paralympians leading 25,000 runners from Brooklyn to Manhattan in the first race of the 2019 NYRR Five Borough-Series. The professional athlete field will be headlined by 2018 Boston Marathon champion Des Linden and U.S. Olympic silver medalist Paul Chelimo, who will make his half marathon debut, as well as all four defending event champions: Ben TrueBuze DiribaErnst van Dyk and Manuela Schär. Also joining them at the starting line on Sunday, March 17 will be reigning TCS New York City Marathon championDaniel Romanchuk. The 14th running of the event will take the professional athletes on a 13.1-mile tour through neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Manhattan and past iconic New York City landmarks, including Grand Army Plaza, the United Nations, Grand Central Terminal, and Times Square.

“We are very excited to welcome all four United Airlines NYC Half champions back to defend their titles against a world-class lineup of Olympians and Paralympians to lead 25,000 runners through the heart of New York from Prospect Park to Central Park,” said Michael Capiraso, president and CEO of NYRR. “New York City and running fans are in for a treat as Des, Daniel, and our defending champions lead 25,000 runners on a spectacular park-to-park journey from Brooklyn to Manhattan.”

Women’s Open Division

Linden, a two-time Olympian from Charlevoix, MI, will use the United Airlines NYC Half as her final major tune-up race before attempting to defend her Boston Marathon title in April. Last year, she became the first American to win the women’s open division at the Boston Marathon in 33 years, breaking through after seven top-five finishes in Abbott World Marathon Majors races. She was one of four American women to finish in the top 10 at the TCS New York City Marathon in November, taking sixth place.

Diriba will be back after becoming the second Ethiopian winner in the women’s open division in event history last year when she took the tape in a sprint finish in 1:12:23. She also won the UAE Healthy Kidney 10K in Central Park last year in the fourth-fastest time in event history, and lowered her half-marathon personal best to 1:06:50 at the Aramco Houston Half Marathon.

“I’m happy to be running the United Airlines NYC Half for the sixth time,” Linden said. “Over the years, this race has served as a nice tune-up for my runs at the Boston Marathon, and in 2019 I’ll try to duplicate as much as possible from my 2018 Boston buildup. The Prospect Park to Central Park course suits my type of running, and Boston last year showed me that on any given day, anything is possible. I’m excited about being in the mix on March 17.”

Challenging Linden and Diriba will be Kenya’s world-record holder in the half marathon, Joyciline Jepkosgei, who ran a 1:04:51 to win the 2017 Valencia Half-Marathon in Spain and then finished second in the distance at the 2018 IAAF World Championships. Her countrywoman, Mary Wacera, is a two-time World Championships Half-Marathon medalist, and will be running the United Airlines NYC Half in preparation for her marathon debut in Boston. Rounding out the Kenyan trio will be veteran Edna Kiplagat, who has won the New York City, Boston and London marathons in addition to two world championship marathon titles.

In addition to Linden, the Americans will be represented by two-time TCS New York City Marathon top-10 finisher Allie Kieffer, USATF champion and Pan American Games medalist Kellyn Taylor, 2018 Boston Marathon runner-up Sarah Sellers, and 2018 USATF Marathon champion Emma Bates.

Men’s Open Division

Chelimo will make his half-marathon debut in the same city where he won the USATF 5K Championships last November in a course-record time. In 2016, Chelimo became the first U.S. athlete since 1964 to medal in the 5000 meters at the Olympics when he took silver; he followed that up with a 5000-meter bronze medal at the IAAF World Championships one year later.

“I’m really excited about this new challenge in my career – my first half marathon – and I’m especially excited to make it happen at the United Airlines NYC Half next month,” Chelimo said. “I love the energy I get from running through the city, and I’ve had great experiences running the USATF 5K Championships that finish right there in Central Park. I’ve been doing longer runs than ever in my training this winter, and am ready to show the long distance guys a thing or two on March 17. I have unfinished business on the track, and then I’m looking forward to making a debut in the TCS New York City Marathon in the near future.”

Challenging Chelimo will be True, who in 2018 became the first the first American to win the men’s open division at the United Airlines NYC Half, covering the new course in 1:02:39. The American 5K record-holder leads a talented cast of American men that includes four-time Olympian and 2007 event runner-up Abdi Abdirahman, 2018 USATF Marathon champion Brogan Austin, and U.S. Olympian and the top American finisher at the 2018 TCS New York City Marathon Jared Ward.

Men’s Wheelchair Division

In 2018, Romanchuk became the first American and youngest athlete ever to win the men’s wheelchair division at the TCS New York City Marathon at just 20 years old. He has recorded two consecutive podium finishes at the United Airlines NYC Half, and last year also won the Bank of America Chicago Marathon and set world records on the track over 800 and 5000 meters.

“I can’t wait to return to New York for the first time since winning the New York City Marathon,” Romanchuk said. “In 2016, the NYC Half was my first-ever race in New York, and it’s always a challenge. Plus, it’s so fun to race through Times Square.”

Romanchuk’s toughest competition will likely come from South Africa’s Ernst van Dyk, who has won the United Airlines NYC Half the last four consecutive years and owns the event record. Also lining up will be American Josh George, a four-time Paralympian who won the inaugural wheelchair division at the NYC Half in 2014.

Women’s Wheelchair Division

Switzerland’s Schär, a three-time Paralympic medalist and six-time European champion, will be racing for her second consecutive United Airlines NYC Half victory just four months after capturing her second consecutive TCS New York City Marathon victory.

“I‘m looking forward to returning to New York for the United Airlines NYC Half,” Schär said. “Last year was a very hard battle with strong athletes, but also tough weather conditions. New York is always a great challenge, and I love that.”

She will face stiff competition from event record-holder, American Tatyana McFadden, a 17-time Paralympic medalist and five-time New York City Marathon champion whose lone victory in the event came in 2016. American Susannah Scaroni, who won the race in 2017 and also won the first-ever wheelchair division at the NYRR New York Mini 10K last year, will join them.

Top Professional Athletes – Men’s Open Division

AthleteCountryPersonal BestTwitter
Abdi AbdirahmanUSA1:00:29@Abdi_runs
Brogan AustinUSA1:02:39@brogan_austin
Chris BendtsenUSA1:04:43 
Eric BlakeUSA1:08:10@EricMBlake
Soufiane BouchiikhiBEL1:03:03@Soufiane_B22
Paul ChelimoUSADebut@PaulChelimo
Tim ChichesterUSA1:04:56 
Noah DroddyUSA1:01:48@IBuiltTheArk
Mikael EkvallSWE1:02:29 
Peter GeithnerUSA1:08:55 
Brendan GreggUSA1:02:55@bg_gregg
Genki KanekoJPN1:02:16 
James KellyGBR1:07:41 
Colin LeakUSA1:04:34@ColinLeak
Cam LevinsCAN1:02:15@CamLevins
Mark LeiningerUSA1:04:26 
Daniel MesfunERI1:01:13 
Jonathan MottUSA1:06:13 
Ken NakayamaJPN1:01:32 
David NilssonSWE1:02:09@DavidNilsson15
Harbert OkutiUGA1:03:52 
John RaneriUSA1:03:49 
Tim RitchieUSA1:01:23@TimRitchieWTD
David SaundersUSA1:09:33 
Brian ShraderUSA1:05:26 
Parker StinsonUSA1:02:38@ParkerStinson
Seth TottenUSA1:04:05@MrSethT
Ben TrueUSA1:02:39@bentrue
Sid VaughnUSA1:03:36@CajunLightning
Jared WardUSA1:01:42@jwardy21

Top Professional Athletes – Women’s Open Division

AthleteCountryPersonal BestTwitter
Meseret Ali BasaETH1:15:35 
Emma BatesUSA1:11:45@emmajbates
Brittany CharboneauUSA1:15:38 
Sarah CrouchUSA1:11:31@SarahCrouch89
Marisa CummingsUSA1:17:27 
Sarah CummingsUSA1:13:11@sarahcummings
Sinke DessieETH1:12:20 
Sydney DevoreUSA1:14:21@devoresydney
Buze DiribaETH1:06:50 
Birtukan FenteETH1:11:11 
Lindsay FlanaganUSA1:12:05@lflanagan242
Erika FluehrUSA1:15:46 
Kathryn FluehrUSA1:14:01 
Bose GemedaETH1:16:52 
Sasha GollishCAN1:11:05@SGollishRuns
Danna HerrickUSA1:12:55@dkherrick
Veronica JacksonUSA1:18:11 
Joyciline JepkosgeiKEN1:04:51 
Ana JohnsonUSA1:18:14 
Katie KellnerUSA1:14:41@ktkellner
Allie KiefferUSA1:10:40@AllieKieffer
Edna KiplagatKEN1:07:41@KiplagatEdna
Nina LauwaertBEL1:11:50 
Michele LeeUSA1:13:35@malee2358
Des LindenUSA1:10:34@des_linden
Dot McMahanUSA1:11:50 
Angela OrtizUSA1:19:33 
Samantha PalmerUSA1:12:32 
Sarah PeaseUSA1:13:39@spease31
Madai PerezMEX1:09:45 
Lauren PerkinsUSA1:16:59 
Beverly RamosPUR1:12:09 
Sarah SellersUSA1:14:27@sarahwhosellers
Kellyn TaylorUSA1:10:16@kellyn_taylor
Lauren TottenUSA1:12:01@LaurenLoveRun
Annemarie TuxburyUSA1:14:19 
Eva VrabcovaCZE1:11:01@evavrabcova
Mary WaceraKEN1:06:29 
Becky WadeUSA1:11:15@bexwade89
Alice WrightGBR1:13:17@AliceWright01


Top Professional Athletes – Men’s Wheelchair Division

AthleteCountryPersonal BestTwitter
Josh GeorgeUSA44:40@jsgeorge
Aaron PikeUSA43:56@Pikester86
Daniel RomanchukUSA47:28