Des Linden and women’s world record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei join the Olympic silver medalist in the New York City Half Marathon field.
USA’s Olympic silver medalist Paul Chelimo – who makes his half marathon debut – and Boston Marathon champion Des Linden headline the elite field for the New York City Half Marathon on Sunday, March 17.
The 14th running of the event will take runners on a 13.1-mile tour through New York neighbourhoods in Brooklyn and Manhattan and past iconic city landmarks.
As well as Chelimo and Linden, who will defend her Boston title in April, reigning champions Ben True and Buze Diriba return, while Britain’s Alice Wright runs in her second half marathon after a debut 73:17 in Houston earlier this year.
Debutant at the distance Chelimo won the New York hosted USATF 5k Championships last November in a course-record time.
In 2016, Chelimo became the first American athlete since 1964 to medal in the 5000m at the Olympics when he won silver. The 28 year-old followed that up with a 5000-meter bronze medal at the IAAF World Championships one year later.
“I’m really excited about this new challenge in my career – my first half marathon – and I’m especially excited to make it happen at the United Airlines NYC Half next month,” said Chelimo. “I love the energy I get from running through the city, and I’ve had great experiences running the USATF 5K Championships that finish right there in Central Park.
“I’ve been doing longer runs than ever in my training this winter, and am ready to show the long distance guys a thing or two on March 17. I have unfinished business on the track, and then I’m looking forward to making a debut in the TCS New York City Marathon in the near future.”
Challenging Chelimo will be True, who in 2018 became the first the first American to win the men’s race, covering the new course in 62:39.
The American 5K record-holder leads a talented cast of American men that includes four-time Olympian and 2007 event runner-up Abdi Abdirahman, 2018 USATF Marathon champion Brogan Austin, and Olympian and the top American finisher at the 2018 TCS New York City Marathon Jared Ward.
Linden, a two-time Olympian, will use the United Airlines NYC Half as her final major tune-up race before attempting to defend her Boston Marathon title in April. Last year, she became the first American woman to win the Boston Marathon in 33 years, breaking through after seven top-five finishes in Abbott World Marathon Majors races.
She was one of four American women to finish in the top 10 at the New York City Marathon in November, taking sixth place.
“I’m happy to be running the United Airlines NYC Half for the sixth time,” said Linden. “Over the years, this race has served as a nice tune-up for my runs at the Boston Marathon, and in 2019 I’ll try to duplicate as much as possible from my 2018 Boston buildup.
“The Prospect Park to Central Park course suits my type of running, and Boston last year showed me that on any given day, anything is possible. I’m excited about being in the mix on March 17.”
Diriba will be back after becoming the second Ethiopian female winner in the event’s history last year when she took the tape in a sprint finish in 72:23.
She also won the UAE Healthy Kidney 10K in Central Park last year in the fourth-fastest time in event history, and lowered her half-marathon personal best to 1:06:50 at the Aramco Houston Half Marathon.
Challenging Linden and Diriba will be Kenya’s world-record holder in the half marathon, Joyciline Jepkosgei, who ran a 1:04:51 to win the 2017 Valencia Half-Marathon in Spain and then finished second in the distance at the 2018 IAAF World Championships. Jepkosgei is set to make her marathon debut in Hamburg in April.
Her countrywoman, Mary Wacera, is a two-time World Championships Half-Marathon medalist, and will be running the United Airlines NYC Half in preparation for her marathon debut in Boston.
Rounding out the Kenyan trio will be veteran Edna Kiplagat, who has won the New York City, Boston and London marathons in addition to two world championship marathon titles.
In addition to Linden, the Americans will be represented by two-time TCS New York City Marathon top-10 finisher Allie Kieffer, USATF champion and Pan American Games medalist Kellyn Taylor, 2018 Boston Marathon runner-up Sarah Sellers, and 2018 USATF Marathon champion Emma Bates.