The 2015 New York City Marathon welcomes back last year's winner in Mary Keitany of Kenya to defend her crown on Nov. 1, race organizers announced on Wednesday morning. Keitany will face stiff competition from 2015 Boston Marathon champion Caroline Rotich (Kenya), 2015 London Marathon champion Tigist Tufa (Ethiopia) and 2015 IAAF World Championship silver medalist Helah Kiprop (Kenya).
“I am happy and proud to go back to New York to defend my title,” Keitany said in a press release. “To be the defending champion is a great honor, but also a big responsibility for me. Therefore, I have been doing my own preparation since June to ensure that I will reach the best shape possible to perform even better than last year in order to make my supporters happy, who will be watching me run in the streets of New York.”
Keitany, the second fastest women's marathoner of all-time, holds a personal best of 2:18:37 and won last year's race in 2:25:07 under cold and windy conditions. She is coming off a second place finish in 2:23:40 at April's London Marathon and most recently won the Great North Run Half-Marathon in South Shields, England with a time of 67:32.
Rotich surprised some with her Boston Marathon victory as she crossed the finish line in 2:24:55. She had a strong showing on the streets of New York in March with a fourth place finish at the NYC Half. While she may not have the fastest personal best among the field, she showed that she can win a tactical race without pacers, which is the case in New York. Eight women have won the New York City and Boston Marathons, but no one has ever accomplished the feat in the same year.
Tufa snapped a four-year winning streak by Kenyans at the 2015 London Marathon as she outlasted a field that had four women with personal bests under 2:20 and four more under 2:22. Tufa is coming off a sixth place finish at the IAAF World Championships.
Kiprop has finished in the top five in each of her five career marathons. She set a personal best of 2:24:03 with her second place finish in Tokyo in February.
Ethiopia's Aselefech Mergia has run the fastest marathon on the year of the field with her 2:20:02 victory at the 2015 Dubai Marathon.
2013 champion Priscah Jeptoo (Kenya) and 2013 runner-up Buzunesh Deba (Ethiopia) have personal bests under 2:21.
18-year-old Alana Hadley enters New York City with the fastest personal best among the American women. She ran her first marathon at 16 and qualified for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials with her 2:41:56 finish at the 2013 Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. Hadley became the youngest person to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials since Cathy O’Brien accomplished the feat at the same age in 1984.
New York will also be the site for the 26.2-mile debut of Sally Kipyego, 29, who trains as a member of the Nike Oregon Track Club in Eugene, OR. Kipyego owns a silver medal in the 10,000-meter run from the 2011 IAAF World Championships and the 2012 Olympics. After posting the fastest 10,000-meter time in the world for 2014, Kipyego finished fifth at the World Championships in August. American Laura Thweatt, winner of the 2015 U.S. Cross-Country national title, will also make her marathon debut.