17 Pro Athlete Storylines to Follow at the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon

17 Pro Athlete Storylines to Follow at the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon

The professional athlete field for the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon will feature athletes from 29 different countries, including 20 Olympians and 17 Paralympians.

Here’s a look at the top 17 storylines for the field:

In 2009, Meb became the first American in 27 years to win the New York City Marathon.

In 2009, Meb became the first American in 27 years to win the New York City Marathon.

1. Marathon legend and NYRR Team for Kids Ambassador Meb Keflezighi will be racing the 26th and final marathon of his professional career. The four-time Olympian is the only person to have won the New York City Marathon, Boston Marathon, and an Olympic medal. In 2009, he became the first American in 27 years to win the New York City Marathon.

2. NYRR Team for Kids Ambassador and 17-time Paralympic medalist Tatyana McFadden will be going for a record-breaking sixth career victory in the wheelchair division. She’s currently tied with Edith Hunkeler and Kurt Fearnley with five wins. She’s also a strong advocate of NYRR’s Youth Wheelchair Training Program.

Tatyana McFadden will go for a record-breaking sixth career victory on November 5.

Tatyana McFadden will go for a record-breaking sixth career victory on November 5.

3. Shalane Flanagan, also racing as an NYRR Team for Kids Ambassador, is the third-fastest U.S. female marathoner of all-time. She is a four-time Olympian and Olympic silver medalist in the 10,000 meters. In 2010, she was the runner up at the New York City Marathon. In August, she joined NYRR’s Percy Sutton Harlem 5K as a Race Buddy for NYRR’s Run for the Future program.

4. Last year, Mary Keitany became the first able-bodied runner since Grete Waitz to win the event three years in a row. This year, she already won her third London Marathon in April, breaking the women’s only marathon record in a blistering time of 2:17:01. She’ll be going for a fourth consecutive win.

Mary Keitany will go for a fourth consecutive win.

Mary Keitany will go for a fourth consecutive win.

5. Edna Kiplagat was the 2010 New York City Marathon champion, won the 2014 London Marathon and the 2017 Boston Marathon. When she won in 2010, she was joined on the podium by Keitany and Flanagan. She is also a two-time world champion and former Abbott World Marathon Majors Series champion.

6. Puerto Rican Olympian and record-holder Beverly Ramos had been training for the TCS New York City Marathon in Puerto Rico when Hurricane Maria made direct landfall. In the catastrophic aftermath of the storm, Ramos’ home was without running water and power, and her cell phone service was sporadic. She was determined to continue training, for herself. Her journey to the start line has been unexpectedly difficult, but one that has miles of meaning.  

Michael Wardian has already run more than 50 races this year.

Michael Wardian has already run more than 50 races this year.

7. Ultramarathoner Michael Wardian has run more than 50 races this year, including seven marathons on seven continents in seven days. The TCS New York City Marathon is special to him, though, and viewers will be able to track his performance data as he’ll be wearing a Performance Metrics device powered by TCS.

8. Marcel Hug of Switzerland will be racing for his second consecutive and third overall event title. The first-ever winner of the Abbott World Marathon Majors wheelchair division series has 14 career marathon titles to his name, and already this year won in Boston with an all-conditions marathon record (1:28:25), and also took the tape in Chicago.

9. In 2014, Wilson Kipsang won the TCS New York City Marathon, taking the tape just 11 seconds ahead of Lelisa Desisa. He went on to win the World Marathon Majors Series XIII. He won the Tokyo Marathon earlier this year and will be looking for redemption in New York after not finishing the Berlin Marathon in September.

Ghirmay Ghebreslassie looks to win a second consecutive title in New York.

Ghirmay Ghebreslassie looks to win a second consecutive title in New York.

10. At 20 years and 358 days, Ghirmay Ghebreslassie became the youngest men’s winner in the history of the New York City Marathon last year. His time of 2:07:51 went down as the third fastest in history. The year prior, he was the surprise winner at the IAAF World Championships Marathon in Beijing. He’ll now look to win a second consecutive title in New York.

11. Amanda McGrory is a two-time New York City Marathon champion and seven-time Paralympic medalist. Eight years ago, a very depressed, practically bedridden, Joe Monte, was watching at home win the London Marathon. He wrote Amanda and told her how amazing and inspiring she was for him as he had been unable to function normally for so long. They struck up a friendship through social media, became pen pals and eventually good friends. His life has completely changed because of it, and he has decided to race the New York City Marathon this year because of McGrory.

Aliphine Tuliamuk will run her first marathon as a U.S. citizen.

Aliphine Tuliamuk will run her first marathon as a U.S. citizen.

12. Aliphine Tuliamuk will be making her highly anticipated TCS New York City Marathon debut. Born in Kenya with 31 siblings, Tuliamuk became a U.S. citizen in 2016 and then quickly claimed national road titles over 25K, 20K, and 5K. This will be her third overall marathon, but first as a U.S. citizen.

13. The professional wheelchair field features the strongest Asian contingent ever with five athletes from Japan and four from China, including 2017 Tokyo Marathon winner Sho Watanabe of Japan and Rio 2016 Paralympic Marathon gold medalist Zou Lihong of China.

14. Germany’s Annika Zeyen won a gold medal in wheelchair basketball at the London 2012 Paralympics and recently switched to wheelchair racing after retiring from the hard court. In her marathon debut at the Berlin Marathon on September, she finished third.

Abdi Abdirahman is the oldest male runner in event history to reach the podium.

Abdi Abdirahman is the oldest male runner in event history to reach the podium.

15. Last year, Abdi Abdirahman was the top American finisher at the TCS New York City Marathon, becoming the oldest male runner in event history to reach the podium. In April, he finished as the top American and sixth overall at the Boston Marathon; he’ll be looking for another U.S. best on Sunday.

16. U.S. Olympic marathoner Jared Ward, who has won national titles over 20 and 25 kilometers, is quickly becoming a fan favorite. He also works as a statistics professor, and is known for examining the effects of pacing on marathon finish times.

17. New Yorkers may recognize the name Brendan Martin, a Smithtown, New York native. In 2003, he ran the New York City Marathon High School Invitational, a 2.5-mile race in Central Park that took place the day of the New York City Marathon. He went on to lead Colombia University to an Ivy League title in cross country in 2009 and qualified for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in 2016.

Watch the TCS New York City Marathon live on Sunday, November 5, starting at 9 a.m. ET on WABC-7 and ESPN2 and download the TCS New York City Marathon Mobile App Powered by Tata Consultancy Services to track runners, view a full schedule of race-week events, and more. 

A CineMarathon at the Pavilion

A CineMarathon at the Pavilion

Pro Preview: Abbott Dash to the Finish Line 5K and USATF 5K Championships

Pro Preview: Abbott Dash to the Finish Line 5K and USATF 5K Championships