The men's marathon course record - Joseph Ndetitu's 2003 time of 2 hours, 16 minutes, 47 seconds -- is at risk of falling this year
PHILADELPHIA - The GORE-TEX ® Philadelphia Marathon and Half Marathon will feature a talented elite athlete field for the 20th running of the event on Sunday, November 17.
"We are excited about the depth of the elite field in this year's Marathon and Half Marathon," said Desiree Peterkin-Bell, GORE-TEX ® Philadelphia Marathon Executive Director. "Our spectators will have a chance to watch some of the most talented runners in the world compete."
In addition to the usual excitement of race day, there will be added competition as U.S. athletes can qualify for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials based on their times in a certified marathon. There are several participants running the GORE-TEX ® Philadelphia Marathon this year with the goal of meeting the qualifying standards, which are as follows: men's marathon, 2:18:00; men's half-marathon, 1:05:00; women's marathon, 2:43:00; and the women's half-marathon, 1:15:00.
With a deep field, the course record - Joseph Ndetitu's 2003 time of 2 hours, 16 minutes, 47 seconds -- is at risk of falling this year.
Ndetitu's time will face competition from a field of international and local runners, including Kenyans Philip Lagat, who ran a 2:15:26 in January at India's Ahmedabad Sabarmati Marathon, and Fred Koskei, who placed fifth at last year's challenging Baltimore Marathon with a 2:15:37.
Jordan's Mo'ath Alkhaweldeh, a 22-year-old working toward qualifying for the Jordan 2016 Olympic team; and Kenyan John Njoroge Maina who posted a 2:15:52 PR at the 2011 Duluth Grandma's Marathon are also expected to be in the front of the pack. Abiyot Endale, an Ethiopian training locally with the West Chester Track Club, brings a PR of 2:15:34 from last year's Hartford Marathon victory.
Some of the American competitors bring strong local ties. Originally from Reading, Pa., Nicholas Hilton is making his marathon debut; Kyle Stanton, a Villanova University graduate, posted a 2:22:29 at the 2012 Frankfurt Marathon and West Chester's Steve Vincent has a half-marathon best of 1:07:15.
Other Americans in the running include Boston's Mike Burnstein, and New Hampshire's Daniel Hocking. Top master's runners Paul Thompson and Ray Pugsly, owner of Potomac River Running Co., will compete.
Irina Mashkantceva (Russia), returns to the GORE-TEX ® Philadelphia Marathon to defend her title on Philadelphia's fast course. Mashkantceva posted a course record last year with her 2:35:37.
Turkey's Tezeta Dengersa brings her 2:37 PR and comes off a runner-up position at September's Moline Marathon. Russian Irina Alexandrova recently ran a PR 2:40:33 at the Columbus Marathon on October 20.
Among those seeking to secure a spot in the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials are Villanova graduate Amanda Marino, whose 1:13:47 PR at 2011 Philadelphia Half Marathon was good for third place; Kris Lawrence, originally from King of Prussia, Pa., a mother of three, a military wife and a 2:49:00 marathoner; and Kate Pallardy, a vegan blogger from New York, NY.
Several familiar faces return to the starting line, including UK's Tina Muir (Philadelphia, Pa.), an assistant cross country and track and field coach at LaSalle University who placed 5th in the 2012 Philadelphia Half Marathon, will make her marathon debut; and Emily Hulme (Havertown, Pa.) who placed third in the 2010 Philadelphia Marathon.
St. Joseph's University Coach Claire Hewitt returns to the marathon coming off a strong finish as first Philadelphian at the Rock and Roll Half Marathon in September. Agnes Irwin grad Christine Ramsey also comes off of a strong 1:16 half.
Talented runners Mary Pardi and Kathleen Jobes will look to capture the master's victory
Jordan Chipangama, a Northern Arizona alum who represented Zambia in the marathon at this summer's IAAF World Championships, drops down to the half to close out his fall racing season.
Kenyans Daniel Kipkoech, with a PR of 1:02:40, and Stephen Sirma, coming off of a strong fourth place finish at the Columbus Half Marathon, will look to continue the Kenyan Half Marathon winning streak at the GORE-TEX ® Philadelphia Half Marathon.
Looking to qualify for US Olympic Trials in the 10K and Marathon, Bryn Mawr's Cameron Marantz, a former Princeton All-American and current Temple University's Dental School student, posted a 49:06 at the 2012 US 10-Mile Road Championship.
Also seeking to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials are Ryan Kienzle, an elite runner and Ohio middle school teacher looking to extend his winning streak as he is fresh off a 1:05:38 win at the Canton Half Marathon (September 28), and Dave Spandorfer, a Lower Merion High School graduate and now Boston resident, who is the co-founder of Janji (along with marathoner Mike Burnstein), a running apparel brand that "gives back."
Adrienne Herzog, a two-time bronze medalist in European championships cross country and six-time national champion cross country for the Netherlands, is looking to capture the half marathon victory.
Poised to challenge Herzog are Askale Merachi, a native of Ethiopia, who took first place in this year's Blue Cross Broad Street Run will look to claim the GORE-TEX ® Philadelphia Marathon title as well and fellow Ethiopian Mulu Seboku, who is looking to cap off a great year that included a 2:27 at the Daegu Marathon this spring. Kenyan Jane Kangara ran a 1:14:07 at 2013 Philadelphia Rock and Roll Half Marathon.
Several top-10-finishers from the 2012 running of the Philadelphia Half Marathon return to Philadelphia looking to better their finishing position and to qualify for the Olympic Trials, including Allison Mendez, whose 01:15:13 was good for a 6th place. Right on her tail was Penn State alum Lauren Philbrook (State College, Pa.) who ran a 1:16:47 earlier this year at the 2013 Washington Half Marathon, and Kayli Hrdlicka, a University of Pennsylvania sports nutritionist, posted a 35:35:23 in the 10,000 M at the Des Moines Drake Relays earlier this year.
All entries are subject to change, including additions and scratches.
For more information, go to www.philadelphiamarathon.com