Meb, Abdi, Josh & Fam Join Haile in Competing at NYC Half Marathon, release, comments by Larry Eder

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Meb Keflizighi flying over Falmouth, August 2009, photo by PhotoRun.net.

Many a running pundit asked, in the spring of 2009, if Meb Keflizighi had seen his best days. One of the classiest athletes on the circuit, it was not a well kept secret that his injuries were giving him a run for his money. I was in Berlin when we heard that Meb had run well at CIGNA Falmouth.

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Meb vs. Robert, ING NYCM 2009, photo by PhotoRun.net.

Then, there was ING New York. Meb had the race in control from the first step. Using his experience, his speed, but most importantly his desire, Meb owned all 26.2 miles of the five boroughs course. No one was going to beat him, it was his day. There was a chilling photo where Meb and Robert Cheriuyot are sizing each other up. One could feel the battle line being drawn, and then, with no room for miscommunications, Meb Keflizighi took off, making sure that a few miles in the 4.40 pace area was what was needed to take first. He could have run 4.30's, as Meb's day had finally come....

From the NY Road Runners
ING New York City Marathon 2009 Champion Meb Keflezighi to Compete in NYC Half-Marathon

Abdi Abdirahman, Anthony Famiglietti, and Josh Rohatinsky also entered as part of strong U.S. men’s line-up

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Meb Takes ING NYCM 2009, photo by PhotoRun.net.

New York, February 11, 2010—Reigning ING New York City Marathon champion Meb Keflezighi of the United States will return to the scene of his finest triumph to compete in the first spring running of the NYC Half-Marathon on Sunday, March 21, it was announced today by New York Road Runners president and CEO Mary Wittenberg. Keflezighi will be running in his first competitive race since his win in New York last November.

Joining Keflezighi will be a trio of outstanding compatriots including three-time Olympian Abdi Abdirahman, two-time Olympic steeplechaser Anthony Famiglietti, and former NCAA cross country champion Josh Rohatinsky. All men will join the previously announced long distance legend, marathon world record-holder, and 2007 NYC Half-Marathon champion Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia.

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Haile Gebrselassie wins Dubai, 2010, photo by Photorun.net.

“Meb’s victory in New York last November was one of the shining moments in the storied history of our race and sport,” Wittenberg said. “Meb and the American athletes are stronger than ever. Each will be looking to take on Haile and the others in what promises to be a spectacular run through the city streets.”

Keflezighi, 34, of San Diego, CA, made history in 2009, becoming the first American male to win the ING New York City Marathon since Alberto Salazar’s victory in 1982. His winning time of 2 hours, 9 minutes, and 15 seconds was a personal best. The win was the pinnacle of his already illustrious career, which includes a silver medal at the 2004 Olympic marathon and a second-place finish at the ING New York City Marathon 2004. A three-time national 10,000-meter champion (2000, 2002, 2004), Keflezighi holds the American record at that distance (27:13.98) and has won 20 USA titles during his career.

“Coming back to race in New York after the victory in the ING New York City Marathon will be very special for me and my supporters,” said Keflezighi, who will also be one of the leading contenders at the Boston Marathon in April. “I was a part of the inaugural NYC Half-Marathon in 2006 and I am delighted to be competing in the new spring edition.”

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Abdi Abdirahman, photo by PhotoRun.net

The 2007 NYC Half-Marathon runner-up, Abdirahman, 33, of Tucson, AZ, will return to New York after finishing ninth in the 2009 ING New York City Marathon in November. A four-time USA champion at 10,000 meters, Abdirahman will be making his fourth appearance in the NYC Half-Marathon after finishing third in his half-marathon debut in 2006, second in 2007 to Gebrselassie, and fourth in 2009.

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Fam leads USATF 5,000m final, June 2009, photo by PhotoRun.net.

New York native Famiglietti, 31, of Knoxville, TN, will be making his half-marathon debut in New York. A two-time Olympic steeplechaser and 2009 USA 15K Championship winner, Famiglietti returns to New York after his 12th-place finish in the Healthy Kidney 10K in 2009.

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Josh leads RNR San Jose, Oct 2008, photo by PhotoRun.net

Rohatinsky, 27, of Portland, OR, will be making his NYC Half-Marathon debut. The 2006 NCAA cross country champion, Rohatinsky was ninth at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials and finished seventh overall in the ING New York City Marathon 2008 in a personal best time of 2:14:23.

Previously announced, the NYC Half-Marathon will offer the largest half-marathon prize purse in the United States: $100,000. The men’s and women’s champions will each earn $20,000, the largest first-prize checks for a non-marathon race in the country.

The NYC Half-Marathon continues to attract leading professional athletes and recreational runners from around the world. In 2009, more than 19,000 people applied to run the race, and more than 10,000 finished.

On a course designed to celebrate New York City, the NYC Half-Marathon will take runners on a loop through Central Park, down Seventh Avenue through Times Square, across 42nd Street, and along the expansive West Side Highway to Battery Park in the heart of the city’s financial district, finishing with a view of the Statue of Liberty.

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