Defending champs return to NYC Marathon

August, 21, 2014
8/21/14
10:11
AM ET
Mutai-JeptooAP Photo2013 NYC Marathon champs Geoffrey Mutai and Rita Jeptoo are back to defend their titles in 2014.
Two-time defending champion Geoffrey Mutai and reigning women’s champion Priscah Jeptoo will return to the TCS New York City Marathon on Nov. 2 to defend their titles, the New York Road Runners announced on Thursday. The Kenyans join an elite field that includes 2014 Boston Marathon Champion Meb Keflezighi.

“Last year, as they led 50,000 runners in the largest marathon ever, both Geoffrey and Priscah were inspirations to us all,” NYRR President and CEO Mary Wittenberg said.

“This November, when they line up in Staten Island to start their journey through the unique neighborhoods of the City’s five boroughs, these world-class athletes will be chasing history, as Geoffrey goes for a New York hat trick and Priscah looks to join an elite group of repeat winners.”

Mutai already holds the course record with his 2:05:05, run in 2011. He is also the fastest marathoner of all-time with his 2:03.02 from the 2012 Boston Marathon, but due to the course’s elevation drop and point-to-point layout the time is ineligible for an official world record.

Jeptoo won last year’s race in come-from-behind fashion, reeling in Ethiopian Buzunesh Deba in Central Park after 24 miles. She would cross the finish line in 2:25:07 for a 48-second victory over the Deba..

Here’s a look at Mutai and Jeptoo by the numbers:

0 - Marathons in the spring for Rita Jeptoo after a leg injury forced her to withdraw from the 2014 Virgin Money London Marathon.

3 - Mutai looks to win his third consecutive New York City Marathon. He would become just the third man in history to accomplish the feat and the first since Alberto Salazar in 1980-1982.

4 - Although Kenyans have dominated the marathon scene in recent years, Jeptoo is only the second Kenyan woman to win the New York City Marathon since 2000.

6 - Years in age difference between Mutai and Keflezighi on race day. Mutai turns 33 on October 7.

7 - If Jeptoo captures the 2014 crown, she would be the seventh woman to win in back-to-back years. Only two women have won more than twice. World Record holder Paula Radcliffe last accomplished the feat in 2007 and 2008.

22 - Number of miles run with the lead pack before Mutai broke away for the victory in 2013. Is there a similar plan this year or will Mutai chase a faster time than his 2:08:24 from 2013?

60 - Number of minutes Mutai needed to win the New York City Half Marathon on March 16. He would finish sixth at the London Marathon a few weeks later.

2012 - Had the 2012 race not been cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy, 2014 could have been an attempt at a four-peat for Mutai. Only Bill Rodgers has won the New York City Marathon four consecutive times.

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