They are part of a powerful field of Kenyan standouts who will compete against Ethiopian Olympic and World Championships medallist Tsegaye Kebede, Los Angeles Marathon champion Buzunesh Deba, Russian phenomenon Galina Bogomolova, and Swedish sensation Isabellah Andersson.
Mutai will join London winner, Emmanuel Mutai to front the Kenyan challenge after failing to get a slot in the Berlin Marathon line-up according to the information released by New York Road Running president, Mary Wittenberg.
“Am exited at the opportunity to compete in New York, one of the classic races in the world and I’m training hard for the challenge. It will be a good race,” Mutai told Capital Sport from his training base in Eldoret.
“We have a star-studded international field for the ING New York City Marathon 2011 that brings together an incredible line-up of champions from this year’s Boston, London, and LA marathons,” said Wittenberg.
She added: “What a treat to have Mutai, who ran the fastest time ever recorded for a marathon at Boston this year, in the race, along with Buzunesh Deba, this year’s LA winner, here again to compete in the city she lives and trains in.”
Mutai, 29, won Boston in a time of 2:03:02 – the fastest time ever recorded for a certified marathon. Since then, he has been unbeatable on the roads, winning the 10-K in Boston on June 26, in 27:19, and the Giro Podistico Internazionale di Castelbuono 10-K in Sicily on July 26 in 29:05.
Compatriot and two-time New York titleholder, Martin Lel was forced to withdraw from the race with injury.
Previously announced runners for the men’s race include last year’s champion Gebregzhiabher Gebremariam of Ethiopia, 2009 winner Meb Keflezighi and fellow Americans Bobby Curtis, Ed Mogan as well as Olympians Juan Luis Barrios of Mexico and Jaouad Gharib of Morocco.
Keitany and Kilel will come up against world champion and titleholder, Edna Kiplagat in what promises to be a women’s marathon to savour since the trio are in the form of their lives.
Keitany also 29 won London in a personal best time of 2:19:19, the fastest time in the world this year. She finished third at the ING New York City Marathon last year and is also the world record holder at the half marathon (1:05:50) and 25-K (1:19:53).
Kilel (30) conquered Boston by two seconds in a lifetime best time of 2:22:36 after a thrilling stretch duel with American Desiree Davila. She has also recorded marathon victories in Frankfurt (2010), Ljubljana (2009), Taipei (2008), and Nairobi (2005).
The Kenyan girls will take on three-time American Olympian Jen Rhines, New Zealand Olympian Kim Smith, Jo Pavey of Great Britain, Portugal’s championship long-distance duo of Jéssica Augusto and Ana Dulce Félix, and home runners Lauren Fleshman and Molly Pritz making their marathon debuts.
Kebede, 24, of Ethiopia, won the bronze medal in the marathons at both the 2008 Olympic Games and the 2009 World Championships. One of the world’s most decorated marathoners, he’s won Fukuoka twice (2008 and 2009), Paris in 2008 and London in 2010. He has a 2:05:18 personal best, and will be making his ING New York City Marathon debut.