Derartu Tulu to defend NY Marathon Title

New York, USA – A year ago today, Derartu Tulu, Ethiopia’s greatest women athletes of all time, won the ING New York City Marathon in 2:28.52.

Mebratom “Meb” Keflezighi, an Eritrea-born US athlete also became the first American male athlete in 27 years to do likewise, when he finished first in 2:09.15.

Alberto Salazar was the last American to win in 1982.

World’s attention will once again focus on the Big Apple this Sunday as World record (2:03.59) holder Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia will make his debut in the race, and Derartu Tulu will defend her title.

The media’s focus on Haile over the past few days has not all been positive. He was accused by some as focusing only in breaking records and purposely avoiding tougher events, which would have given him the chance to compete against some of the elite athletes of the world.

Only time will tell if Haile, who broke the world record in Berlin, Germany two years ago, would be able to perform well on a grueling course like the NY City Marathon.

If the course itself is not challenging enough, Haile will be going against Meb, the defending champion, who ran here before and has local support.

On the women’s side, Derartu will be challenged by Ludmila Petrova of Russia, who was runner-up the past couple years and fellow compatriot Worknesh Kidane, who together with her husband Gebre-Egziabher Gebremariam, will make her debut.

Gebremariam, 25, was the hottest runner on the U.S. road circuit this summer, posting victories at the Peachtree Road Race, the Beach to Beacon 10K, and the Falmouth Road Race.

Kidane, 28, is a former World Cross Country champion and World Championships silver medalist in the 10,000m. She won the Great Manchester Run 10K in May and finished at the NYRR New York Mini 10K in June. In September, the two competed in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half-Marathon with Gebremariam finishing second and Kidane third.