Defending women’s champion Priscah Jeptoo and 2014 Virgin Money London Marathon runner-up Stanley Biwott, both of Kenya, have withdrawn from the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon (to be run on Sunday, November 2) due to leg injuries.
Mary Wittenberg, president and CEO of New York Road Runners, announced today that 2013 Boston Marathon Champion Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia and 2013 Bank of America Chicago Marathon runner-up Jemima Sumgong of Kenya have been added to the previously announced professional athlete fields of American and international record-setters and distance-running greats.
“I am very disappointed that I will not be able to defend my New York City Marathon title this year,” said Jeptoo. "Unfortunately, the injury I suffered at London in April was more serious than I thought and took me a long time to recover from.
"I am now 100-percent healthy, but the remaining time I have will not allow me to be ready to honour the race and my title the way I should for such a great event.
"I tried the last three weeks, but realized my top fitness is far away. I will refocus my training to be ready for next season and come back to New York next year in top form," she added.
Desisa, currently ranked fifth in the 2013–2014 World Marathon Majors Series standings, will challenge a historic men’s field, featuring former world record-holder Wilson Kipsang and two-time defending New York City Marathon champion and second-fastest performer of all time Geoffrey Mutai, both of Kenya.
Sumgong will join a decorated collection of past New York City Marathon champions, including Firehiwot Dado of Ethiopia (2011), Edna Kiplagat of Kenya (2010), and two-time champion Jelena Prokopcuka of Latvia (2005, 2006).
Desisa, 24, will be making his New York City Marathon debut. He had an exceptional 2013 marathon campaign, recording victories in Dubai and Boston and earning a silver medal at the IAAF World Championships.
His time in Dubai, 2:04:45, is the fifth-fastest debut in history. This year, he won the super-competitive RAK Half-Marathon, leading a record eight men under the one-hour barrier.
Sumgong, 29, finished second at the 2012 Boston Marathon and the 2013 Bank of America Chicago Marathon and took fourth this past spring at the Boston Marathon, setting a personal best of 2:20:41.
She won the 2013 Rotterdam Marathon, the 2011 Castellon de La Planta Marathon, and the 2006 Las Vegas Marathon, which was her debut at the distance. She has never finished outside of the top five in a marathon.
Last year, 50,266 runners crossed the finish line of the New York City Marathon, making it the world’s largest marathon ever. Runners from more than 100 countries and each of the 50 states participated.