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New York Marathon 2018: Elite women’s preview

On Sunday morning the New York defending champion will race the women's marathon world record holder, the American half-marathon record holder, the Boston 2018 champ and the London 2018 champ. This is one you don't want to miss

Shalane Flanagan
New York City Marathon Canadians
Photo: courtesy of NYRR.

The 2018 TCS New York City Marathon women’s race has shaped up to be one of the deepest fields in the race’s history. With 13 women who have run under 2:30, plus the defending champion (Shalane Flanagan) and the event world record holder (Mary Keitany) on the start line, Sunday’s event is one you can’t miss. The action begins at 9:20 a.m. EDT with the women’s race, and 9:50 a.m. EDT with wave 1 and the men’s elite start. 

Women to watch:

Shalane Flanagan, USA, 37

Flanagan is the queen of New York. After the monumental moment in women’s marathon running when Flanagan became the first American woman to win the New York Marathon in four decades, she seriously considered retiring. In April 2018, she raced the Boston Marathon and left heartbroken. After Boston, Flanagan took a chunk of time off, but got back into shape to help her Bowerman Track Club teammate Shelby Houlihan to an American 5,000m record in July. And then she decided to run New York. 

Molly Huddle, USA, 34

Huddle is one of the most consistent runners in American history. She has run a 2:28:13 marathon, is the American record-holder in the half-marathon, 5K and 10,000m, made both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, and is showing no signs of slowing down heading toward 2020. 

Des Linden, USA, 35


The 2018 Boston Marathon champion is ready for New York. After her breakthrough performance in the spring, Linden has a new confidence. Linden has been an exceptionally strong marathoner for years. Her personal best is 2:22:38 from the Boston Marathon in 2011, but since getting the win this spring, she’s proven she’s a contender for the crown. 

Allie Kieffer, USA, 31

Kieffer is new to the elite marathon scene. While New York 2017 wasn’t her marathon debut, it’s where she made her name known. Kieffer surprised running fans and competitors by smashing her PB and placing fifth in the race. She clocked a 2:29:39, besting her old PB of 2:55:30. Kieffer ran the 2018 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half-Marathon in preparation for her 42.2K in New York, finishing first in 1:12:44.

Sarah Sellers, USA, 27

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Morning run with @speedytay23 and @racallister filled my soul with ☀️ ☀️☀️ During my freshman year at Weber State, Coach @paul_pilkington gave our team some great advice – "if you want to be really good at something, find someone who is the best in that field and copy everything they do." I took that advice to heart and copied everything Olympian and Weber State graduate @lindsanders2029 did. Probably to the point of annoyance 😂 Now 3 weeks out from the #nycmarathon, I hope to do the same and emulate my brother and teammates who all had spectacular marathons last weekend. In Chicago @marathon_mom_ got the OTQ in 2:44 👊, @lindsanders2029 debuted in 2:36 🔥, and @speedytay23 was 7th in 2:32 😵 . And my brother @racallister ran 2:37 in St George 😱. And I'm happy my brother destroyed my marathon PR. Sibling rivalry can be a powerful motivator and if I need any extra 🔥 during those last few miles in NYC, I'll be thanking Ryan for it 😂😂

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The unexpected Boston 2018 runner-up is racing New York. Sellers told Runner’s World last week that her goal is sub 2:37, which would accomplish Olympic “A” standard. On a good day she thinks she can run in the low 2:30s. Sellers still works as a nurse in Tucson, Arizona, but has reduced her hours to accommodate her training. 

Mary Keitany, Kenya, 36

Keitany is the women’s-only world record holder in the marathon. She was fifth at the 2018 London Marathon in April in 2:24:27, still an extremely strong time but not what she had been looking for. Keitany was targeting Paula Radcliffe’s world record of 2:15 (world record contested by men and women together), but went out a little too quickly and the second half of her race suffered. The world record holder is likely looking for redemption in New York. 

Vivian Cheruiyot, Kenya, 35

Cheruiyot is the winner of the 2018 London Marathon. There, she ran her personal best of 2:18:31 and beat both Mary Keitany and Tirunesh Dibaba, two of the world’s best women’s distance runners. The marathoner is also a force on the track (she was the 2016 Olympic gold medallist over 5,000m and the silver medallist in the 10,000m). 

Mamitu Daska, Ethiopia, 35

Daska is best known for her cross-country results. The Ethiopian runner is a two-time silver medallist at the IAAF cross-country championships. Her personal best of 2:21:59 is from 2011, but more recently she ran a 30:55.56 10,000m in the Netherlands in 2015. 

Lisa Weightman, Australia, 39

Weightman is a three-time Australian Olympian and six-time World Championship representative. With a personal best of 2:25:15 from the 2017 London Marathon, the runner is ready for New York. Weightman has goals of representing Australia for a fourth time at the 2020 Olympics.