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Gomes dos Santos, Cragg, Gebremariam Added to NYC Half-Marathon Field - Printable Version

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Gomes dos Santos, Cragg, Gebremariam Added to NYC Half-Marathon Field - TheEd - 08-03-2010

NEW YORK - A lineup of some of the world's best long-distance runners, including 2006 and 2008 ING New York City Marathon champion Marilson Gomes dos Santos of Brazil, two-time Olympian Alistair Cragg of Ireland and 2009 World Cross Country champion Gebre Gebremariam of Ethiopia have been added to the field of the first spring running of the NYC Half-Marathon on Sunday, March 21, it was announced by New York Road Runners president and CEO Mary Wittenberg.

The 90-minute live broadcast will start at 7:30am EDT featuring the men's and women's professional race. It will be seen on Universal Sports TV and streamed on Veteran sports broadcaster Bruce Beck will host the show.

"The interest continues to build with the addition of World Cross Country champion Gebre Gebremariam and Ireland's best long-distance runner Alistair Cragg as they tackle the half-marathon distance," said Wittenberg. "Marilson is one of our all-time favorite ING New York City Marathon champions and we always enjoy having him race here. The broadcast of the race continues NYRR's strategy of bringing the very best in road racing to a global audience."

These athletes join a previously announced field of top Americans, including 2009 ING New York City Marathon champion Meb Keflezighi, 2004 Olympic bronze medalist Deena Kastor, three-time Olympian Abdi Abdirahman, two-time Olympic steeplechaser Anthony Famiglietti and 2006 NCAA cross country champion Josh Rohatinsky. International stars in the field include marathon world record holder Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia, 2009 London Marathon runner-up Mara Yamauchi of Great Britain, 2008 NYC Half-Marathon runner-up Madai Pérez of Mexico and 2009 Hokkaido Marathon champion Kiyoko Shimahara of Japan.

The first South American winner of the ING New York City Marathon, Gomes, 32, returns to New York after dropping out in the 23rd mile in last year's ING New York City Marathon. A hero in his home country, Gomes made history when he surprised a stellar field in 2006 to win the ING New York City Marathon. He repeated the victory in 2008, finishing in 2:08:43. In 2007, Gomes ran the fastest half-marathon ever by an athlete from the Western Hemisphere with his 59:33 seventh-place finish at the IAAF World Road Running Championships.

The U.S.-based Cragg, 29, will be making his half-marathon debut. A seven-time NCAA champion, Cragg is the Irish national record holder in the 3000 meters, 5000 meters indoors and 10,000 meters outdoors.

A 2004 Olympian, Gebremariam, 25, will be running in his first road race in the United States. After much success at the 5000 meter and 10,000-meter distance, Gebremariam will be participating in only his second half-marathon.

Previously announced, the NYC Half-Marathon will offer the largest half-marathon prize purse in the United States: $100,000. The men's and women's champions will each earn $20,000, the largest first-prize checks for a non-marathon race in the country.

The NYC Half-Marathon continues to attract leading professional athletes and recreational runners from around the world. In 2009, more than 19,000 people applied to run the race, and more than 10,000 finished.

On a course designed to celebrate New York City, the NYC Half-Marathon will take runners on a loop through Central Park, down Seventh Avenue through Times Square, across 42nd Street, and along the expansive West Side Highway to Chambers Street in the heart of the city's financial district.