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
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. Her 3:34 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.