New York Marathon 2012: Latest Buzz on Top Contenders

Kamille SimmonsContributor IIINovember 2, 2012

Last year's winners show their medals from the 2011 ING New York City Marathon
Last year's winners show their medals from the 2011 ING New York City MarathonPatrick McDermott/Getty Images

Despite some controversy over whether the 2012 New York Marathon should be held in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Mayor Bloomberg says the show must go on.

More than 47,000 people ran the marathon last year when Geoffrey Mutai won it in record-breaking time. The Kenyan runner finished the race in 2:05:06, breaking Ethiopia's Tesfaye Jifar’s record by about two minutes that had stood for 10 years.

This year, about 40,000 people are expected to participate in the race and Mutai is among them.

Mutai is set to win the World Marathon Majors Series after winning the 2012 Berlin Marathon. Mutai has an insurmountable lead in the series and the women’s winner is the one which will be determined in the marathon Sunday.

Mary Keitany is leading the women in the series and is one of three who remains in the running for a WMM Series win.

Keitany, a 30-year-old Kenya native, won the 2012 London Marathon and finished fifth in the 2012 Olympic Marathon.

Edna Kiplagat, another Kenya native, finished second to Keitany in this year’s London Marathon. She finished in 2:19:50, her personal best. She followed that performance with a 20th-place effort in the Olympic Marathon in London.

Kiplagat is second behind Keitany in points for the WMM Series. She was the winner of the NY Marathon in 2010 and hopes to do it again this year.

The third runner in contention for the women’s WMM Series win is Kenya’s Sharon Cherop. Cherop finished first in the Boston Marathon this year with a time of 2:31:50. That’s about 10 minutes slower than her personal best (2:22:42) that she posted in the same race in 2011 that was good for a third-place finish.

The 28-year-old hopes to beat out Kiplagat and Keitany to get another first-place finish in Sunday’s race.

Others running include Ethiopia’s Tiki Gelana. Gelana won the women’s Olympic marathon in the 2012 London Olympics. She finished in the Olympic marathon, setting an Olympic record in the process with her time of 2:23:07. That was even despite a fall midway through the race.

Buzunesh Deba, another Ethiopian native, who now lives in New York, is also running in this year’s race. Deba finished second in last year’s marathon with a time of 2:23:19.

This is sure to be an entertaining race, and hopefully one that can lift the spirits of New Yorkers still dealing with the hurricane.