Blockbuster Group of Professional Athletes to Lead the Way Through New Course at 2018 United Airlines NYC Half on Sunday, March 18

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Sambu_Stephen-NyHalf17.jpgStephen Sambu, 2017 NYC Half marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net

"I'm excited for the challenge of a new course at the United Airlines NYC Half, and to visit Brooklyn for the first time at the start of the race. Having won the event two years ago, I'm eager for another top finish and to lead the way through Central Park in hopes of becoming the second athlete on the men's side to win the race twice."
-Stephen Sambu, 2016 United Airlines NYC Half Champion

Sisson_Emily-NycHalf17.JPGEmily Sisson, 2017 NYC Half Marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net

"I am very excited to come back and race the United Airlines NYC Half this year. I had an amazing experience last year, and I gained a ton of confidence from it going into my track season. It really set the tone for an incredible 2017."
-Emily Sisson, 2017 United Airlines NYC Half Runner-Up

The 2018 United NYC Half is the spring coming out party of many of the finest marathoners and road racers from around the world! Here's the list of the awesome field that the NYRR put together for this race! Stephen Sambu leads the men's field and Emily Sisson leads the women's field. Looking forward to to two fine races!

Blockbuster Group of Professional Athletes to Lead the Way Through New Course at 2018 United Airlines NYC Half on Sunday, March 18

Professional athletes from 15 different countries, including 9 Olympians and 10 Paralympians, to lead 22,500 runners from Brooklyn to Manhattan in first race of 2018 NYRR Five-Borough Series

Talented group of Americans to highlight professional men's race, while five former champions to return to mark fifth year of professional wheelchair division

New York, February 27, 2018--Last year's runner-up Emily Sisson and 2016 champion Stephen Sambu, as well as three-time defending champion and event record-holder Ernst van Dyk and reigning champion Susannah Scaroni in the wheelchair division, will return to New York City on Sunday, March 18 to race the brand new United Airlines NYC Half course. The 2018 United Airlines NYC Half will also feature a blockbuster group of American men in the open division and five former champions in the wheelchair division, with an expected 22,500 total finishers from more than 80 countries.

The professional athlete field, announced earlier Tuesday via the 2018 United Airlines NYC Half Kickoff Show on Facebook Live, will feature athletes from 15 different countries. The field includes nine Olympians and 10 Paralympians racing on a completely redesigned course, featuring iconic landmarks and neighborhoods from Prospect Park in Brooklyn to Central Park in Manhattan, including the Manhattan Bridge, Chinatown, Grand Central Terminal, and Times Square.

Sisson, 26, set an American debut record with her 1:08:21 runner-up performance at last year's United Airlines NYC Half, finishing only two seconds behind her training partner Molly Huddle. At the IAAF World Championships last summer, Sisson once again finished one place and two seconds behind Huddle--this time in the 10,000 meters. As a two-time NCAA champion at Providence College, she earned 10 NCAA All-American honors during her college career and set the NCAA indoor record for 5000 meters (15:12.22). She will race the United Airlines NYC Half as an NYRR Team for Kids Ambassador.

Sambu, 29, won the 2016 United Airlines NYC Half after a third-place finish in 2014 and a photo-finish second place in 2015. In 2016, the Kenyan made his marathon debut at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, where he placed fifth in 2:13:35. He followed that with another fifth-place run last October, albeit with a time that was nearly two-and-a-half minutes faster. Sambu graduated from the University of Arizona, where he was a nine-time NCAA All-American. He'll face a blockbuster group of Americans, including four-time Olympian Abdi Abdirahman, two-time Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein, American 5K record-holder Ben True, and last year's top American finisher in the race, Chris Derrick.

Van Dyk, 44, is the three-time defending United Airlines NYC Half champion in the men's wheelchair division, having lowered his own event record from 47:37 to 47:28 in last year's race. He is also a two-time New York City Marathon champion, having won in 2005 and 2015, and a 10-time Boston Marathon champion. He has competed for South Africa at every Paralympics since 1992, finishing sixth in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Marathon while also winning a gold medal in the 60-kilometer handcycling road race, prevailing in a close finish over former Formula One driver Alex Zanardi.

Scaroni, 26, won her first NYRR race last year, taking the tape at the United Airlines NYC Half in 55:06 to also record her fourth consecutive top-three finish in the event. She followed her win in New York with a third-place performance at the Boston Marathon, finishing in a five-minute personal best in 1:33:17. The two-time Paralympian placed seventh at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Marathon, finishing only two seconds back of a podium position. She trains with the University of Illinois wheelchair athletics program, along with fellow United Airlines NYC Half entrants, five-time New York City Marathon champion Tatyana McFadden and two-time New York City Marathon champion Amanda McGrory. The trio will be challenged by Switzerland's Manuela Schär, who won four Abbott World Marathon Major races in 2017, including the TCS New York City Marathon, and who is fresh off a 2018 Tokyo Marathon victory.

In 2014, the NYC Half became the first major half-marathon to add a professional wheelchair division with significant prize money. To commemorate its fifth year, five of the six athletes who have won titles in the professional wheelchair division will be returning to race the new course, including: Josh George(2014), Manuela Schär (2015), McFadden (2016), Scaroni (2017), and van Dyk (2015-2017).

Additionally, since 2012, NYRR has held an official partnership with the Ageo City Marathon, in which the top two Japanese collegiate finishers from the event's half-marathon are invited to run the United Airlines NYC Half the following spring. This year, Komazawa University's Kei Katanishi, the gold medalist at the 2017 World University Games half-marathon, and teammate Shogo Ise earned their invitations to run in the open division of the 2018 United Airlines NYC Half.

Top Professional Runners - Men

Name

Half-Marathon PB

Twitter

Instagram

Wilson Chebet, KEN

59:15

@WilsonChebet

Dathan Ritzenhein, USA

1:00:00

@djritzenhein

djritzenhein

Teshome Mekonen, ETH

1:00:27

Abdi Abdirahman, USA

1:00:29

@Abdi_runs

Abdiruns

Shadrack Biwott, USA

1:01:25

@skiptoob

Skiptoob

Noah Droddy, USA

1:01:48

@IBuiltTheArk

noah_droddy

Soifiane Bouchikhi, BEL

1:03:45

@Soufiane_B22

Soufiane22

Shogo Ise, JPN

1:03:10

Kei Katanishi, JPN

1:01:58

Chris Thompson, GBR

1:01:00

@Thommo10k

Ben True, USA

Debut

@bentrue

Benjtrue

Chris Derrick, USA

1:01:12

@CDerrickRun

cderrickrun

Scott Fauble, USA

1:03:06

@scottfaubs

sfaubs

Matt Llano, USA

1:01:47

@MattLlano

mattllano

Haron Lagat, USA

1:01:00

@halagat

runlagat

Tim Ritchie, USA

1:01:23

@TimRitchieWTD

timritchiewtd

Top Professional Runners - Women

Name

Half-Marathon PB

Twitter

Instagram

Mamitu Daska, ETH

1:06:28

@Mamitu_Daska

mamitumolisa

Buze Diriba

1:06:50

Vivian Cheruiyot, KEN

1:07:44

@VivianCheruiyot

Emily Sisson, USA

1:08:21

@Em_Sisson

Em_sisson_

Caroline Rotich, KEN

1:08:52

@ccrotich

Aliphine Tuliamuk, USA

1:09:16

@aliphinetuliamu

aliphine

Betsy Saina, KEN

1:09:17

@bcsaina

Sainabetsy

Karoline Grøvdal, NOR

1:09:41

@KarolineBGrvdal

karolinebgrovdal

Madai Perez, MEX

1:09:45

Serena Burla, USA

1:10:08

@serena_burla

Desiree Linden, USA

1:10:34

@des_linden

des_linden

Allie Kieffer, USA

1:10:40

@AllieKieffer

kiefferallie

Liz Costello, USA

1:12:35

Stello223

Roberta Groner, USA

1:14:26

@Marathongirl245

Top Professional Wheelchair Athletes - Men

Name

Half-Marathon PB

Twitter

Instagram

Ernst van Dyk, RSA

42:36

@ErnstvanDyk

@ernstvandyk

Simon Lawson, GBR

43:06

@_SL74

_sl74

Rafael Botello, ESP

44:33

@rafabotello79

Rafabotello79

Josh George, USA

44:40

@jsgeorge

jsgeorge

Daniel Romanchuk, USA

48:09

Brian Siemann, USA

49:00

@bsiemann

bsiemann

Steven Smith, USA

55:00

Top Professional Wheelchair Athletes - Women

Name

Half-Marathon PB

Twitter

Instagram

Amanda McGrory, USA

50:47

@alittlechipped

alittlechipped

Katrina Gerhard, USA

51:28

katrinagerhard

Tatyana McFadden, USA

52:28

@TatyanaMcFadden

tatyanamcfaddenusa

Susannah Scaroni, USA

53:58

@kenyanscaroni

suscaroni

Manuela Schär, SUI

53:58

@maneulaschaer

manuelaschaer

Arielle Rausin, USA

54:44

@racingrausin

racingrausin

In addition to the 22,500-plus runners covering 13.1 miles, the 2018 United Airlines NYC Half will host 1,000 youth runners--including those from Rising New York Road Runners, NYRR's flagship youth program--for the fourth consecutive year in a free 1500-meter race that starts and finishes in Times Square. Participants ages 8-18, including youth wheelchair racers, will have the opportunity to dash through Times Square in an out-and-back 1500-meter race alongside some of the world's top professional athletes and half-marathoners of all ages in pursuit of new personal bests.

The event will be broadcast live in the New York area on WABC-TV, Channel 7, nationally on ESP3 via WatchESPN, and will be shown internationally via a variety of global broadcast partners.

The United Airlines NYC Half is one of seven races - from the mile to the marathon - organized by New York Road Runners, which features invited professional athlete fields and makes up the NYRR Pro Racing Series. The NYRR Pro Racing Series also includes the NYRR Wanamaker Mile, United Airlines NYC Half, UAE Healthy Kidney 10K, NYRR New York Mini 10K, New Balance 5th Avenue Mile, USATF 5K Championships, and the TCS New York City Marathon.

Media interested in applying for credentials to cover the 2018 United Airlines NYC Half can email Matt Singer at [email protected] with their coverage plans.

About New York Road Runners (NYRR)

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. NYRR's commitment to New York City's five boroughs features races, community events, youth running initiatives, school programs, and training resources that provide hundreds of thousands of people each year, from children to seniors, with the motivation, know-how, and opportunity to Run for Life. NYRR's premier event, and the largest marathon in the world, is the TCS New York City Marathon. Held annually on the first Sunday in November, the race features 50,000 runners, from the world's top professional athletes to a vast range of competitive, recreational, and charity runners. To learn more, visit nyrr.org.

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