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Formidable Kenya vs Ethiopia clash set for NY

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NEW YORK, September 19- A superlative set of some of the world’s best marathoners will battle for the 2011-2012 World Marathon Majors (WMM) titles at the November 4 ING New York City Marathon.

London champion and Olympics bronze winner, Wilson Kiprop will battle against compatriot and Chicago titleholder, Moses Mosop in the cream of the men’s race.

Edna Kiplagat, a winner here in 2010 will team up with Sharon Cherop, the Boston champion in the women’s race to fend off stern challenge mounted by Olympics titleholder, Tiki Gelana (Ethiopia) and London bronze winner, Tatyana Arkhipova of Russia.

Also in the field is defending champion, Firehiwot Dado who outpaced London winner, Mary Keitany for top honours with the Kenyan Olympics fourth finisher out of the race injured.

Also competing in the men’s event will be 2010 New York champion Gebre Gebremariam of Ethiopia.

Previously announced runners for this event include three-time US Olympian and 2009 winner Meb Keflezighi, four-time USA Olympian Abdi Abdirahman, 2012 Boston Marathon fourth-placer Jason Hartmann, and 2012 American Olympic Marathon Trials fifth-placer Brett Gotcher.

In the women’s race, New Zealand Olympian Kim Smith, American London Olympians Julie Culley, Amy Hastings and Kenyan born Janet Cherobon Bawcom in addition to the top home runners in the shape of Michelle Frey, Alisha Williams, Serena Burla, and Molly Pritz were announced beforehand.

“We have a star-studded field for the New York City Marathon headlined by a remarkable roster of World Marathon Major champions,” said New York Road Runners (NYRR) president and CEO Mary Wittenberg.

“It will be a race of strategy and intrigue as Kiplagat and Cherop go for the title while running a race within the race for greatest women’s marathon of this WMM Series.

“Gelana and defending champ Dado will have their eyes on the prize of NY and next year’s WMM Series, and we can’t wait to see what Olympic marathon bronze medallist Wilson Kipsang will do in his ING New York City Marathon debut,” she added.

Kiplagat, 32, is the World champion and is ranked number three by the ARRS amongst the world’s marathoners.

She finished second in London with a personal best time of 2:19:50, earning a spot on the Olympics marathon team.

Kiplagat won the 2010 New York race in 2:28:20 and added this year’s NYRR New York Mini 10K and is ranked second on the 2011-2012 WMM leader board with 50 points.

“I’ve always loved running on the streets of New York, so I was really disappointed last year to miss the New York Marathon because of the knee injury from my terrible fall at the World Championships,” said Kiplagat.

“I am, of course, very, very happy to be invited back to NYC this year, and will be doing my best to try to win the race again.”

Cherop, 28, won bronze in Daegu last year besides claiming a position as one of the top marathoners in the world with an 11-minute personal best of 2:22:42 to win the 2010 Toronto Waterfront Marathon — the fastest women’s time ever run in Canada.

Her Marathon personal best of 2:22:39 was set at this year’s Dubai Marathon and is ranked third on the WMM leader board with 45 points as she prepares to make her Big Apple debut.

Tiki, 24, beat Priscah Jeptoo and Keitany to the gold medal in London in an Olympic record time of 2:23:07. She broke the Ethiopian record at the Rotterdam Marathon, completing a solo run of 2:18:58 to win the race almost five minutes ahead of runner-up Valeria Straneo of Italy.

She is now the fifth-fastest woman ever at the distance and she will also be making her New York Marathon debut.

Arkhipova, 29, took bronze in the London and was a silver medallist in the 3000m Steeplechase at the 2007 World Championships and 2006 European Championships. This will be her New York City Marathon debut as well.

Kipsang, 30, has a marathon best of 2:03:42, set at last year’s Frankfurt Marathon, making him the second-fastest marathoner of all-time behind World record-holder and Kenyan countryman Patrick Makau, who ran 2:03:38 last year in the BMW Berlin Marathon.

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