Race weekend launches in New York with 5km races

Kibiwott Kandie

Kenya’s world half marathon record holder Kibiwott Kandie fields media questions at the Media Centre at Central Park, New York,on November 4 ahead of this weekend’s New York City Marathon.

Photo credit: Elias Makori | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Sunday’s New York City Marathon will be special as it celebrates the 50th running of the annual race in the “Big Apple."

In New York

This weekend’s New York City Marathon activities roll out in earnest today with selected US national road races lined up at Central Park.

The highlight will be the 2021 “Abbott Dash to the Finish Line” five-kilometre road race and the USA Track and Field Five-kilometre Championships.

According to the New York Road Runners Club (NYRR) the race organisers of the annual New York City Marathon, these preliminary races will feature five Olympians and 28 athletes who competed at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials.

“Following in the footsteps of the professional athletes will be more than 7,000 runners participating in the Abbott Dash to the Finish Line 5K, including top local athletes and many runners participating in the marathon the following day,” a statement from the organisers said.

Among the star attractions at the 5km races is Kenya-born two-time American Olympic medallist and eight-time US national champion Paul Chelimo and USA’s Rio 2016 Olympic 1,500 metres gold medallist Mathew Centrowitz.

Sunday’s New York City Marathon will be special as it celebrates the 50th running of the annual race in the “Big Apple."

To celebrate the landmark race, several veterans of the inaugural race in 1970 will feature this weekend, including Gary Muhrcke, the first New York City Marathon champion.

The former Fire Department of New York firefighter came off a night shift to win the inaugural race on September 13, 1970, and has maintained his training regime at Central Park to date.

“The TCS New York City Marathon has influenced and inspired so many people around the world for more than five decades, and to think it all started with 127 runners in Central Park is incredible,” said Ted Metellus, Vice President of Events for NYRR (New York Road Runners) and Race Director of the TCS New York City Marathon.

“We are honored to bring back some of the First Finishers from the 1970 race to have them with us on marathon day this year, and to honor them for being the first to take part in what has grown to become the world’s premier marathon.”

Kenya’s world half marathon record holder Kibiwott Kandie and Olympic women’s champion Peres Jepchirchir lead Kenya’s challenge on Sunday with Kandie making his marathon debut.

Also in the men’s field is Ethiopian legend Kenenisa Bekele who boasts the fastest time in the elite field of two hours, one minute and 41 seconds clocked in the Berlin Marathon in September, 2019.

Only Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge has run faster (2:01:39).

Other Kenyans lined up in the men’s field are Augustine Choge and Albert Korir with Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Abdi Nageeye of The Netherlands also a major threat.

Kenyans in the women’s field alongside Jepchirchir are debutant Viola Cheptoo Lagat and Grace Kahura with Ethiopia’s Ruti Aga (2:18:34) the closest challenger.

Besides the elite fields, various celebrities will run on Sunday.

They include television anchors and personalities among them TODAY Show and Morning Joe co-host Willie Geist who will run in support of the Michael J. Fox Foundation and Good Morning America’s Will Reeve running in support of the Reeve Foundation.

The producer and host of MTV’s Catfish: The TV Show Nev Schulman will run in his fourth New York City Marathon.

“Many stars of Bachelor Nation will hit the streets including friends Matt James and Tyler Cameron who will be running together for the Andrea Cameron Foundation,” organisers say.

“The Bachelorette’s Tayshia Adams will run in her first-ever marathon after her fiancé, Zac Clark, introduced her and shared his love of running as he takes on his seventh New York City Marathon on behalf of Release Recovery.

“Legendary fashion model Christy Turlington will make her return 10 years after running in her first New York City Marathon, representing her charity, Every Mother Counts. Additionally, Shoe4Africa will have model and actress Kristine Froseth running to support their worthy cause,” a statement from the organisers added.