Loaded women's field to take on streets of NYC

Organizers of the 2010 edition of the ING New York City Marathon put together a phenomenal women’s field that includes each of the top three from last year’s race, numerous major marathon medalists, and a few outstanding runners making their debuts at the 26.2 mile distance.

Derartu Tulu, twice an Olympic gold medalist over 10,000 meters, cemented herself among the legends of distance running with her win on the streets of New York last year in 2:28:52, making her the first Ethiopian to take the NYC crown.  At the age of 38, Tulu is back this year to defend her title.  Also back are the silver and bronze medalists from 2009, Russian Ludmila Petrova, the masters world record holder with the fastest PR in the field at 2:21:29, and French national record holder Christelle Daunay.

The marathon veterans roll on with several World Marathon Major winners and runners-up.  2009 Boston Marathon champion Salina Kosgei is back in New York after falling in last year’s race.  Also entered is this year’s Boston as well as Houston Marathon winner, Ethiopian Teyba Erkesso.  Russia’s Inga Abitova holds the second fastest PR in the field with the 2:22:19 she ran earlier this spring in London to take second place in that race.  Mara Yamauchi of Britain was the London silver medalist in 2009 and won the New York City Half Marathon in March.  Another to watch for is Kim Smith.  The Kiwi was a perennial All-American during her collegiate days at Providence and has a 2:25:21 personal best from her first marathon finish in London.

Another big headline for this year’s race is the stellar class of debutants at the marathon distance.  Mary Keitany of Kenya was dominated the race racing scene in the last few years, including setting the world record at 25k and winning the World Half Marathon title in Birmingham a year ago.  Olympic 10,000 meter bronze medalist Shalane Flanagan will also be debuting in the Big Apple.  She has significantly increased her training mileage since her days on the track and boasts a half-marathon best of 68:36 from Philly in September.  Portugal’s Ana Dulce Félix comes to New York having won the European cross country title earlier this year.

The race is also hosting the USA Women’s Marathon Championships.  Other than Flanagan, the American contingent is led by Katie McGregor, who is making her third appearance in New York.  She has experienced tremendous success thus far in 2010 on the domestic road racing scene and is looking to improve upon her 2:31:14 best time.  See our recent interview with McGregor here.

My Picks:

1. Teyba Erkesso: Erkesso proved her as one of the world’s best marathoners with wins in Houston and Boston.  Experience on a difficult course like Boston will surely benefit the Ethiopian as she takes on another hilly layout like she will confront in New York City.

2. Inga Abitova: Along with her countrywoman Liliya Shobukhova, Abitova has been a major part of the success of Russian females in the marathon.  In addition to her fast times on the road, Abitova was also the 2006 European champion in the track 10,000 meters, proving she has leg speed that will be needed in the ladder stages of the race.

3. Mary Keitany: Much has been hyped about Keitany’s debut and her accomplishments certainly warrant it.  However, even some of the greatest have not experienced victory in their first marathon efforts.  The difficulty of the course also won’t help.

4. Kim Smith: Smith ran 2:25 in the first marathon that she has finished and likely won’t beat that time on Sunday.  However, with the experience of going through marathon training and the lessons she learned from London, she is due for a great effort in New York.

Tags: Nyc Marathon

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