Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Rock 'n' Roll Philly boasts stacked field
By Christopher Chavez
Dathan Ritzenhein has run for the U.S. on the world stage and will take on the world's best in Philly.
Race organizers for the 2014 Rock N’ Roll Philadelphia Half-Marathon have assembled one of the deepest fields of the fall, including several marathon champions and Olympians.
“Philadelphia is one of the most famous half-marathons in the U.S. and we have a world-class field to match a world-class event,” Elite athlete coordinator Matthew Turnbull said.
Dathan Ritzenhein headlines the American field. The three-time Olympian makes a return to the roads after an injury forced him to withdraw from April’s Boston Marathon. Ritzenhein did not race on the track this summer, and in Philadelphia he will be challenged by 2014 Boston Marathon surprise Jeffrey Eggleston.
Kenyan Geoffrey Mutai will also use this race as a tuneup with his sights are set on a three-peat in the New York City Marathon in November.
Kara Goucher, also returning from injury, leads the field of American women. This will be her first long-distance race since leaving her Nike training group and inking a deal with Oiselle and Sketchers. Goucher's toughest challenger will Deena Kastor, the fastest American woman ever over 13.1 miles, who is looking to extend her road-racing career.
Here’s a look at the field by the numbers:
1 - This will be Ritzenhein’s first real taste of competition since leaving Alberto Salazar’s Nike Oregon Project to move back to his hometown in Michigan.
2 - Last year, Stanley Biwott and Cybrian Kotut were the only men to break 60 minutes for the race distance. Only two women broke 1:10 minutes.
3 - Ritzenhein was third in the 2012 race with a time of 1:00.57.
7 - Weeks between the Philadelphia Half-Marathon and the New York City Marathon. Geoffrey Mutai will be ready for the full 26.2 mile distance through the Big Apple. Will Goucher and Ritzenhein join him? The Chicago Marathon takes place much sooner -- October 12 -- and might not be part of their fall plans.
14 - Injuries have kept Goucher from racing for approximately the last 14 months. She is now healthy and ready to race under the watchful eyes of coach Mark Wetmore. Her last race was a fifth-place finish in the 10,000 meters at the 2013 U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships.