OLYMPIANS BAWCOM, CULLEY & HASTINGS JOIN NYC MARATHON FIELD
By David Monti
(c) 2012 Race Results Weekly all rights reserved. Used with Permission

NEW YORK (06-Sep) -- Coming off of strong track seasons which culminated with personal best performances at the London Olympics, Janet Bawcom, Julie Culley and Amy Hastings will extend their competitive year by competing for the first time in the ING New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 4, organizers announced today.  They are the best of 17 American women who are slated to run in the all-women's professional race of what is the world's largest marathon, and will be competing for their share of a special USA-only $100,000 prize money purse.

Bawcom, 34, of Flagstaff, Ariz., is the reigning USA 25-K champion and record holder, and finished 12th in the Olympic Games 10,000m in a career best time of 31:12.68.  She has a marathon personal best of 2:29:45 set at the USA Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston last January where she finished fifth.  Culley, 30, of Annandale, N.J., will be making her marathon debut in New York after winning the USA Olympic Trials 5000m title last June and finishing 14th in the Olympic final at the same distance.  Like Culley, the 28 year-old Hastings of Leavenworth, Kan., won the USA Olympic Trials 10,000m title last June and finished 11th in the Olympic final in a career best 31:10.69.  Hastings, who finished fourth at the USA Olympic Marathon Trials, has a career best time of 2:27:03.

"Twenty-twelve has been the most incredible year of my running life," Hastings said through a statement provided by the New York Road Runners, the race founder and organizer.  "There have been ups and downs to try and make the Olympic team, but that only made it better when I finally was able to race in front of the Olympic torch for the U.S.  For me, there is only one fitting way to finish a year like this, only one way that can live up to the hype of the Olympics, and that is by racing on the shut-down streets of Manhattan for the famous ING New York City Marathon.  It is a race I have dreamed about running for years, but racing my first one in 2012 just seems right."

In addition to the trio of Olympians, race director Mary Wittenberg also announced that Serena Burla, Molly Pritz, Michelle Frey, and Alisha Williams would also be competing.  Burla ran a career best 2:28:27 in Seoul last March; Pritz, the top American finisher at New York last year, has a best time of 2:31:52; Frey's fastest marathon is 2:35:51; and Williams's best is 2:35:09, set in her debut at the distance at this year's Olympic Trials.

"We are honored to welcome a blockbuster field of up and coming American women," Wittenberg said through a media release.  "Our Olympians, Amy, Janet, and Julie will lead the U.S. team and it will be a special treat to host 'local' Julie Culley in her marathon debut."

With a live national television broadcast on ESPN2, live local broadcast on WABC-TV, and different streaming options, more Americans will be able to watch the race than ever, the Road Runners said.  Factoring in their global broadcast partners, the Road Runners said 330 million people would be watching the event.