Philadelphia, PA. –– As the site of five World and three American records, the ING Philadelphia Distance Run is positioned for another historic performance in 2009. U.S. Olympian and American Half Marathon Record Holder, Ryan Hall, will lead the world-class field at the historic half-marathon on Sunday, September 20 and will be joined by both the gold and silver medalists from the Beijing Women’s Olympic Marathon.
The professional women’s field will feature the 2008 Olympic Marathon Gold and Silver Medalists Constantina Dita of Romania, and Kenya’s Catherine “The Great” Ndereba. Dita, who has a half marathon PR of 1:08:07, won the marathon in Beijing using a courageous mid-race surge to pull away from the field. Taking silver behind her was Kenya’s Ndereba, a six-time champion in Philadelphia who will be looking for her seventh title on Sunday.
“It’s been more than two years since my last half-marathon, but the half-marathon has always been one of my favorite race distances,” said Dita, who won the AIMS/ASICS World Athlete of the Year Award for 2008. “I’m looking forward to my first visit to Philadelphia. Other athletes have often told me what a beautiful course it is, and also that it is a very fast course. Competitor Group has put together a very strong women’s field, and I’m looking forward again to racing with my friend, Catherine Ndereba, and the other women.”
The Beijing medalists will face strong competition from another Olympic champion, Ethiopian Derartu Tulu. Tulu became Africa’s first Olympic women’s champion ever when she captured the gold medal in the 10,000 meters in Barcelona in 1992. After a disappointing 4th place finish in Atlanta in 1996, Derartu repeated her gold medal win in Sydney in 2000.
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