While Kenya and Ethiopia are rightfully seen as the global powerhouses in the marathon world, some quick analysis of the elite fields for this year’s ING New York City Marathon shows just how diverse the sport it.
The latest publicly available list of the elite fields has 45 men and 43 women listed. This is made up with runners from 21 countries. Not surprisingly given it is a US event, but Americans make up 24 of the 45 men and 20 of the 43 women.
Ethiopia and Kenya are next on the number of entrants, with eight and six respectively, but as NYRR spokesman Richard Finn told ESPN, the New York field is not assembled based on trying to break world records or on one or two big names headling the event.
‘We look at an athlete with an unusual story or fantastic personality, even if she is not the fastest. That athlete is more interesting to a general audience, and helps us promote our marathon and the sport.”
The international flavour well and truly flows through into the general public field, with entrants running from 125 countries in last year’s event. It is hard to tell if the fall out from Sandy will impact the number for this years event, but it can be assumed that the city that hosts the United Nations will still do a great job of representing many of them in the NYC Marathon.
It is true that as you get down to the pointy end of the race, the diversity is limited with the top ten men coming from just five countries, four of them Kenyans. The women’s field is more varied, with the top 10 representing eight countries, the only multiples been two entrants each from Kenya and Ethiopia.
While this sort of analysis will have no bearing on who will be the ultimate winner come race day, it is interesting to see the make up of the elite field for a race like this. It wil be just as interesting to compare the make up of the finishing order by country, for both the elites and generally field.
One thing that can be assured though is that the flags of the world will be on display come race day!