Kenya’s marathon star Martin Lel has pulled out of next month’s New York marathon due to injury. A statement from the race organisers said the reigning champion would not compete in the 2 November marathon, after fracturing his left foot during last weekend’s Lisbon half marathon.
Lel, who is leading the World Marathon Majors’ series, will thus not be able to add to his 76 points with just one round to go, though he has an almost unassailable lead.
However, despite his absence, Kenya will be ably represented in the classic, five-borough race by top athletes in attendance. Former world marathon record holder and 2005 New York champion Paul Tergat will lead the Kenyan charge.
The 39-year-old, who has been absent for the past 18 months due to work commitment, is back in the Big Apple race for the first time in two years and will be looking to rekindle memories of 2005, when he edged out South Africa’s Hendrick Ramaala to win right at the tape.
Ramaala will again be in the mix as will last year’s runners up Abdelrahhim Goumri, and 2006 winner Marilson Gomes dos Santos.
Two-time World champion and two-time Olympic silver medallist Catherine Ndereba will lead the women’s charge.
The 36-year-old registered one of her worst results in marathon in the race last year, coming in sixth, will be looking to improve on that as well as winning one of the few crowns she is yet to win.
A win would also put her in frame to win the world marathon majors crown and with it, US$500,000.
The 2005 Boston marathon champion Rita Jeptoo will also be in the race. She was on the podium for the second time at the Boston Marathon with a third-place finish in April. Jeptoo hopes to improve her fourth-place finish at the 2006 edition of the race.
Three-time Olympian Tegla Loroupe, 35, will be competing in her ninth career New York City Marathon. She was the first African woman to win the New York title, in 1994.
Joyce Chepchumba, 38, the bronze medalist in the woman’s Olympic marathon in 2000, will be making her sixth New York appearance. She has never finished lower than sixth place in the race.