Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa to Challenge Historic Men’s Field at 2014 NYC Marathon

2013 Boston Marathon champion Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia is one of the elite runners scheduled to participate in the 2014 New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 2nd. (Photograph: Getty Images)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, October 6, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – The annual New York City Marathon is upon us. And this year Ethiopia’s hope in the elite men’s competition rests on 24-year-old Lelisa Desisa, the 2013 Boston Marathon champion. The Ethiopian athlete was recently added to the field of “international record-setters and distance-running greats” expected to take part in the 2014 NYC Marathon, which is scheduled for Sunday, November 2nd.

It was also made public this past weekend by Mary Wittenberg, president and CEO of New York Road Runners, that defending women’s champion Priscah Jeptoo of Kenya and her fellow countryman, 2014 London Marathon runner-up Stanley Biwott, have withdrawn from the upcoming race due to leg injuries.

In the women’s category 2013 Chicago Marathon runner-up Jemima Sumgong of Kenya has likewise made the roster: “Sumgong will join a decorated collection of past New York City Marathon champions, including Firehiwot Dado of Ethiopia (2011), Edna Kiplagat of Kenya (2010), and two-time champion Jelena Prokopcuka of Latvia (2005, 2006).”

Lelisa, who will be making his New York City Marathon debut, is “currently ranked fifth in the 2013–2014 World Marathon Majors Series standings, will challenge a historic men’s field, featuring former world record-holder Wilson Kipsang and two-time defending New York City Marathon champion and second-fastest performer of all time Geoffrey Mutai, both of Kenya,” states the press release.

It’s to be remembered that it was exactly a year ago this month, amidst sporting disappointments for Ethiopia (with the crushing home defeat of the Walyas by Nigeria that interrupted the Ethiopian national soccer team’s momentum to join the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil), that Lelisa once again rose to the occasion delivering the only uplifting news of the day for his country on October 13th, 2013 when he claimed victory at the BAA Half Marathon in Boston, where he had won the full distance six months earlier.

In its news release the New York Road Runners, the organization that overseas the New York City Marathon, added: “[Lelisa] had an exceptional 2013 marathon campaign, recording victories in Dubai and Boston and earning a silver medal at the IAAF World Championships. His time in Dubai, 2:04:45, is the fifth-fastest debut in history. This year, he won the super-competitive RAK Half-Marathon, leading a record eight men under the one-hour barrier.”

The 2014 NYC Marathon on November 2nd will be televised live nationally on ESPN and broadcasted in the New York City metropolitan area on WABC-TV from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Organizers point out that “last year, 50,266 runners crossed the finish line of the New York City Marathon, making it the world’s largest marathon ever. Runners from more than 100 countries and each of the 50 states participated.”

Lelisa Desisa and Mamitu Daska of Ethiopia Win 2014 Boston Half-Marathon
Lelisa Desisa Delivers an Ethiopian Victory Amidst Sporting Disappointments

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