The New York City Marathon, the fifth and final major marathon of the year, takes place this Sunday, November 5. Paul Tergat and Hendrick Ramaala, the participants in last year’s exciting sprint finish in which Tergat prevailed, both return. They headline a very impressive field, second only to the London Marathon this year, that also features Olympic gold medalist Stefano Baldini and silver medalist Meb Keflezighi. Previous Boston Marathon winners Hailu Negussie and Rodgers Rop are also in the mix, Rop already having won this race four years ago. The quality of the field is indeed so impressive that Ramaala, who set a personal best of 2:06:55 at London this April, remarked that “there are 10 or 15 guys who could win.”
Ramaala has been in the best form this year, finishing third at London in a personal best time, as well as recently running to an easy victory at the Great North Run half marathon, running away from Baldini in the process. Tergat has been silent so far this year, withdrawing from London with an injury. Keflezighi was third at the Boston Marathon in April while Rop was sixth at London. American Dathan Ritzenhein, making his marathon debut, defeated both Rop and Baldini at the Great North Run.
On the women’s side, Kenyan Catherine Ndereba headlines the field. Ndereba, who has the fastest personal best in the field at 2:18:47, has the strongest credentials: silver medals at the Olympics and World Championships to go with four victories at Chicago and two at Boston. American Deena Kastor, the Olympic bronze medalist, is likely Ndereba’s biggest worry. The two will face stiff competition from Lornah Kiplagat, fresh off victory at the World Road Racing Championships, Susan Chepkemei, second here the last two years, and, of course, last year’s champion Jelena Prokopcuka of Latvia.
Kastor has been the strongest runner this year in winning London in a personal best time of 2:19:36. Chepkemei, however, is not to be entirely discounted as she finished third there in a personal best of 2:21:46. Rita Jeptoo will be present here after victory at Boston in the spring, where defending champion Prokopcuka was the runner-up.
The race starts at 9:30 a.m. EST and can be watched live online for $4.99 (U.S.) here. Live updates, along with an exclusive look into the pre-race preparations of elite runners Stephen Kiagora and Thomas Nyariki, will be provided at Chasing Kimbia. Nearly 40,000 runners ranging from professionals to amateurs and everything in between will start in what is one of the world’s biggest and best-known races.