Prior New York City Marathon champs to face off - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Mutai, Dado lead elites; Goucher drops out

Prior New York City Marathon champs to face off

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Runners cross the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge at the start of the New York City Marathon Sunday, Nov. 7, 2010 in New York. (AP photo/Jason DeCrow) Runners cross the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge at the start of the New York City Marathon Sunday, Nov. 7, 2010 in New York. (AP photo/Jason DeCrow)

The world's top marathoners, including Olympic gold medalists and several former ING New York City Marathon champions, are set to line up for this year's five-borough contest, New York Road Runners CEO Mary Wittenberg announced Thursday.

"This year's international field, headlined by champions and World Marathon Majors title chasers, will celebrate the diversity of the Marathon, and in essence, the diversity of New York City," Wittenberg said in a statement. "At NYRR, we see a world where everyone, everywhere, benefits from running, and these decorated international athletes bring stories of hope and inspiration from around the world that uplift and enrich our global running community."

Kenyan Geoffrey Mutai, the reigning men's champion, returns to try to repeat his 2011 win (the 2012 New York City Marathon was canceled because of Superstorm Sandy).

The most recent women's winner, Firehiwot Dado of Ethiopia, also returns to New York to try to defend her title.

Mutai will face still competition from 2012 Olympic champ and 2013 World champ Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda, 2012 Boston Marathon champion Wesley Korir of Kenya, 2009 New York City Marathon champ Meb Keflezighi of the United States, and many more.

"I am focused on NY, I feel I am already well prepared for the Marathon on November 3," Mutai said in a statement. "I am confident and looking forward to challenging myself with my own course record set in 2011. I look forward to coming back to the city where I am welcomed by many people who make me feel at home."

Dado takes on 2010 NYC Marathon champion Edna Kiplagat of Kenya, 2012 Olympic Marathon silver medalist Priscah Jeptoo of Kenya, three-time Olympian Kim Smith of New Zealand, Olympian Lisa Stublic of Croatia, who grew up in Connecticut and ran for Columbia University, and several others.

Kiplagat won the marathon gold medal at the World Championships in Moscow in August.

"The New York spectators and the energy in the races I've done in New York have always been very exciting for me," Kiplagat said in a statement. After being second in the World Marathon Majors standings for two consecutive years, I will, of course, do my best to secure the title this year."

U.S. Olympian Kara Goucher announced this week in a blog post that she has to pull out of the race this year because of a stress fracture.

"I am devastated to not be able to run in NYC this year. I have waited patiently for years for my chance to come back as an accomplished marathoner in the best shape of my life and make a run for the title in NYC," Goucher wrote. "Thank you so much for understanding and please know that my dream of returning to NYC and running the race that I am capable of is not over. It just won't happen in 2013."

Goucher finished 11th in the 2012 Olympic marathon in London and 6th at the Boston Marathon in April.

"It's always disappointing to lose a top athlete from a race, but Kara's personal ties to NYC and her special connection to our running community, fans, and spectators make this one especially tough for everybody to swallow," Sam Grotewald, NYRR's pro athlete manager, said in a statement. "Kara is always welcome with us, and we expect to see her racing on the streets of New York City again very soon."

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