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Today! Korir ready to defend his New York City Marathon title

Athletics
 - New York City Marathon - New York, United States - November 3, 2019 Kenya's Geoffrey Kamworor and Kenya's Albert Korir lead the elite men's race REUTERS

It’s been 13 years since an American man won the New York City Marathon when Meb Keflezighi crossed the finish line first in 2009.

There’s a strong international field, including defending champion Albert Korir of Kenya, expected today at the 51st running of the event. It might be difficult for that drought to end.

“I’m excited to be back in the US. Last year, I was champion after coming in second in 2019,” Korir said. “I’m ready, but know the field is competitive. I will try and push to defend my title.”

Galen Rupp might provide the best chance for the Americans when he runs the New York race for the first time.

He’s medaled twice in the Olympics — a silver in in the 10,000 meters at the 2012 London Olympics; a bronze in the marathon at the 2016 Rio Olympics. He won the 2017 Chicago Marathon.

“I’d love that,” Rupp said. “It’s a great field for sure. I think America as a whole has improved dramatically on the track the last five to 10 years. It’s good to see Americans being competitive.”

Rupp is coming off a 19th-place finish — tops for an American in the race — at the World Championships in July in Oregon. He was dealing with a back injury for that race, but is healthy now.

“I feel like things have come along the last couple of months,” Rupp said. “I’m optimistic for sure. I had a herniated disc and it takes a while to heal.”

While Rupp is competing today, the defending women’s champion Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya withdrew last month with an unspecified injury, leaving the race wide open.

The 29-year-old Jepchirchir is the only person to win the Olympic, Boston and New York City Marathons in a career — doing so in a ninth-month span in 2021 and 2022. She won last year’s race in New York in 2 hours, 22, minutes, 39 seconds, just 8 seconds short of the course record.

“With Peres not being in the race, I think it’s really hard to figure out who will take the lead,” said Kenya-born American Aliphine Tuliamuk, who represented the US at the Tokyo Olympics. [AP]

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