NEW YORK (10-Oct) - With 17 Olympians, the 2012 Dash to the Finish Line 5-K, scheduled for Saturday, November 3, here, gives some of the world's best track runners a chance to go head-to-head in one more race after their summer Olympic season. The second annual event, organized by the New York Road Runners, serves an appetizer for the ING New York City Marathon which uses the same finish line and is held the following day.
"The Dash to the Finish Line 5-K is a phenomenal way to experience the joy of Marathon weekend with runners, friends, family, and supporters from around the world," said New York Road Runners' president and CEO Mary Wittenberg through a media release. "This will be one of the most competitive and fun 5-K's this year, with nearly 20 Olympians joining more than 5,000 others in a dash through NYC that ends in an unforgettable way---crossing the iconic Marathon finish line in Central Park."
Chris Thompson, the British Olympian who won the inaugural edition of the race last year, has decided to return to defend his title. He'll be up against two-time American Olympians Matt Tegenkamp and Lopez Lomong, plus USA steeplechase champion Evan Jager, former American 10,000m record-holder Chris Solinsky, and USA 5-K road running champion Ben True. Other top Americans include Aaron Braun, Andrew Bumbalough, Chris Derrick, German Fernandez, Elliott Heath, Luke Puskedra, and Alan Webb. Juan Luis Barrios (MEX), Leonard Korir (KEN), Daniele Meucci (ITA), and Cam Levins (CAN) make the race truly international.
"New York has always been a great place to run, but last year, experiencing Marathon weekend was something else," said Thompson, who is based in Eugene, Ore. "To have been able to take part in, and win, the first-ever 5-K race that weekend was not only a great achievement for me, but so much fun to be a part of. This having been an Olympic year makes this sort of race a real treat you've earned."
The women's field is just as strong, led by global medalists Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher, both of whom ran the London Olympic Marathon for the United States. Their Olympic teammates Molly Huddle, Lisa Uhl, and Kim Conley will also compete, along with British Olympians Claire Hallissey and Julia Bleasdale, and Canadian Olympian Sheila Reid. Other top athletes include Angela Bizzarri, Megan Brown (CAN), Delilah DiCrescenzo, Neely Spence and Ashley Higginson.
"I'm really looking forward to coming back to New York for the Dash to the Finish Line 5-K," said Goucher. "I always love racing in the Big Apple, and I especially like the idea of experiencing all the fun and excitement of the ING New York City Marathon weekend without having to run the full 26.2!"
The Dash begins at United Nations Plaza on First Avenue, then comes west on 42nd Street before turning north on Avenue of the Americas, right on Central Park South, then into Central Park for the finish. The course records are 13:53 (13:52.11) by Chris Thompson and 15:56 (15:55.17) by Sara Hall.