Defending Champions Ghirmay Ghebreslassie, Marcel Hug, and Mary Keitany to Lead International Professional Athlete Field at 2017 TCS New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 5
World-class field representing 27 countries to include 22 Olympians and 11 Paralympians
Previously announced Mary Keitany of Kenya, a two-time winner of the Abbott World Marathon Majors, will go for fourth consecutive title
New York, August 30, 2017— The defending men’s open champion, Ghirmay Ghebreslassie of Eritrea and the defending wheelchair champion, Marcel Hug of Switzerland, along with previously announced three-time defending women’s open champion Mary Keitany of Kenya, will lead the international field racing the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 5.
The world-class field representing 27 countries will include 22 Olympians, 11 Paralympians and 16 athletes – 10 in the open division and seven in the wheelchair division – who have previously finished on the New York City Marathon podium.
“Having Ghirmay, Marcel, and Mary return to the streets of New York to defend their titles among a group of athletes from 27 countries around the world is a true testament to the TCS New York City Marathon being one of the most world-class and universally diverse sporting events,” said Peter Ciaccia, president of events for New York Road Runners and race director of the TCS New York City Marathon. “The talented group of international athletes joining us this year, will be looking to push the sport even further by chasing after records, personal bests and an increased prize purse for the wheelchair division. These athletes will be sure to excite the more than one million fans who line the streets, and close to one billion TV viewers worldwide.”
Ghebreslassie, 21, became the youngest men’s winner in the history of the New York City Marathon last year, breaking the tape in 2:07:51. He posted the third-fastest winning time in history, and was the first Eritrean winner in race history. In 2015, he became the youngest winner in IAAF World Championships Marathon history, and his gold medal was Eritrea’s first ever at the event. He was fourth at the Rio 2016 Olympic Marathon and owns a personal-best of 2:07:46 from the 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon, where he also finished fourth.
“I’m proud to return to New York to defend my title as the TCS New York City Marathon champion,” Ghebreslassie said. “The crowds along the course are fresh in my memory, and I will work hard to do well again this year.”
Hug, 31, held off Australia’s Kurt Fearnley in a sprint finish last year to win his second New York City Marathon title by a whisker. Both men were given the same time – 1:35:49 – with Hug winning by a mere sixth hundredths of a second. It was Hug’s sixth consecutive victory in a major marathon, which is believed to be an unprecedented feat for a men’s wheelchair racer, and he went on to become the first-ever Abbott World Marathon Majors Wheelchair Series champion. An eight-time Paralympic medalist, Hug added to his already stacked international resume this summer with three gold medals at the World Para Athletics Championships in London.
“I'm excited to be coming back to New York City in search of my third title,” Hug said. “Last year was such a thrilling sprint to the finish. Year after year, the TCS New York City Marathon draws the top wheelchair athletes in the world, so it promises to be a battle to the finish once again.”
Keitany, 35, has won the TCS New York City Marathon each of the last three years, including a dominating performance last year in which she surged ahead at Mile 14 to finish the course on a solo run in 2:24:26. Her3:34 margin of victory was the greatest in the women’s race since 1980, and she became the first able-bodied runner since Grete Waitz to win the event three years in a row. Keitany is a two-time winner of the Abbott World Marathon Majors, taking the series titles in 2012 and 2016. This year, she won her third career Virgin Money London Marathon in April, breaking the women’s only marathon record in a blistering time of 2:17:01.
Additional Top Professional International Athlete Backgrounds and Notable Performances
Lemi Berhanu (Open Division): The 22-year-old from Ethiopia won the Boston Marathon in 2016, and has a personal best of 2:04:33 from the 2016 Dubai Marathon, the fastest personal-best time of any professional athlete racing the TCS New York City Marathon this year. He also won the 2017 Xiamen Marathon, 2015 Dubai Marathon, and the 2014 Zurich Marathon.
Lelisa Desisa (Open Division): The 27-year-old from Ethiopia finished second at the TCS New York City Marathon in 2014 and third in 2015 before failing to finish last year. The two-time Boston Marathon champion owns a personal-best time of 2:04:45 from the 2013 Dubai Marathon.
Geoffrey Kamworor (Open Division): The 24-year-old from Kenya was the 2015 TCS New York City Marathon runner-up and is a four-time world champion, twice in cross-country and twice in the half-marathon. His personal-best time of 2:06:12came from his marathon debut in 2012, when he finished third at the Berlin Marathon.
Ernst van Dyk (Wheelchair Division): The 44-year-old from South Africa has won the New York City Marathon twice and finished as the runner-up four times; he’s also won the Boston Marathon a record 10 times. He has represented his country at every Paralympics since 1992, and earlier this year won his third consecutive United Airlines NYC Half.
Kurt Fearnley (Wheelchair Division): The 36-year-old from Australia is a five-time winner and the event-record holder of the New York City Marathon; he finished second at last year’s race, his 10th podium appearance. He has captured 13 individual medals across five Paralympics, including a silver-medal finish at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Marathon.
Edna Kiplagat (Open Division): The 37-year old from Kenya owns titles from the 2010 New York City Marathon, 2014 London Marathon and 2017 Boston Marathon. She is a three-time World Championship medalist, most recently taking silver at the IAAF World Championships Marathon in London.
Betsy Saina (Open Division): The 29-year-old from Kenya finished fifth over 10,000 meters at the Rio 2016 Olympics after winning the NYRR Millrose Games 5,000 meters earlier that year.
Tigist Tufa (Open Division): The 30-year-old from Ethiopia, who has lived in the Bronx, finished third and eighth in her two previous New York City Marathon appearances in 2015 and 2013, respectively. She won the London Marathon in 2015 and was the runner-up in 2016.
Manuela Schär (Wheelchair Division): The 32-year-old from Switzerland, a three-time Paralympic medalist, has finished as runner-up at the last three TCS New York City Marathons. In April, she won her first Boston Marathon title, clocking a world-best time of 1:28:17, and then one week later won the Virgin Money London Marathon.
Top Professional International Men – Open Division
Personal Best Marathon
Lemi Berhanu (ETH)
Lelisa Desisa (ETH)
Geoffrey Kamworor (KEN)
Tadesse Abraham (SUI)
Lucas Rotich (KEN)
Ghirmay Ghebreslassie (ERI)
Hiroyuki Yamamoto (JPN)
Michael Butter (NED)
Koen Naert (BEL)
Bayron Piedra (ECU)
Francesco Puppi (ITA)
Top Professional International Men – Wheelchair Division
Personal Best Marathon
Marcel Hug (SUI)
Ernst van Dyk (RSA)
Josh Cassidy (CAN)
Kurt Fearnley (AUS)
Kota Hokinoue (JPN)
Tomoki Suzuki (JPN)
Sho Watanabe (JPN)
Zhang Yong (CHN)
Top Professional International Women – Open Division
Personal Best Marathon
Mary Keitany (KEN)
Edna Kiplagat (KEN)
Mare Dibaba (ETH)
Tigist Tufa (ETH)
Mamitu Daska (ETH)
Christelle Daunay (FRA)
Jessica Augusto (POR)
Kaoru Nagao (JPN)
Miranda Boonstra (NED)
Diane Nukuri (BDI)
Emma Quaglia (ITA)
Adriana Da Silva (BRA)
Eva Vrabcova (CZE)
Askale Merachi (ETH)
Beverly Ramos (PUR)
Manuela Soccol (BEL)
Dailin Belmonte (CUB)
Charlotte Karlsson (SWE)
Marie-Ange Brumelot (FRA)
Gloria Giudici (ITA)
Sara Dossena (ITA)
Betsy Saina (KEN)
Top Professional International Women – Wheelchair Division
Personal Best Marathon
Manuela Schär (SUI)
Wakako Tsuchida (JPN)
Zou Lihong (CHN)
Jade Jones (GBR)
Madison DeRozario (AUS)
Annika Zeyen (GER)
The 2017 TCS New York City Marathon will offer a total guaranteed prize purse of $825,000 – with potential time bonuses – with the wheelchair division prize purse increasing by 25 percent this year to become the largest wheelchair prize purse of any marathon in the world. The first-place finishers in the wheelchair division will now receive $20,000, with second place receiving $15,000, third place receiving $12,000, fourth place receiving $8,000, fifth place receiving $5,000 and sixth place receiving $2,500. The men’s and women’s open division winners will once again receive $100,000 each.
The 2017 TCS New York City Marathon is part of the Abbott World Marathon Majors, a series made up of the world’s six largest and most renowned road races – the Tokyo, Boston, Virgin Money London, Bank of America Chicago, and TCS New York City Marathons. This year’s series also includes the IAAF World Championship Marathon. Points are allocated to the top five finishers in each race. The Abbott World Marathon Majors prize structure was expanded for this year to reward the top three men’s and women’s finishers in both the open and wheelchair series, with a total prize purse of $1,100,000. A new charity program was introduced, which will give a total donation of $280,000 in the name of the winners of each of the races that make up Series XI. Each race winner in the open and wheelchair divisions will be honored with an Abbott World Marathon Majors $10,000 donation.
The 2017 TCS New York City Marathon will be televised live on Sunday, November 5, 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.
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 just celebrated its 40th year as a five-borough affair. Held annually on the first Sunday of November, the race features over 50,000 runners including the world’s top professional athletes and a vast range of competitive, recreational, and charity runners. Participants from approximately 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. The NYRR Youth Invitational at the TCS New York City Marathon covered 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 television broadcast in 175 countries and territories, including viewers in the New York area on WABC-TV, Channel 7, nationally on ESPN2, and via various international broadcast partners. 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 47th running of the TCS New York City Marathon is set for November 5, 2017. To learn more, visit www.tcsnycmarathon.org.