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Goucher, Linden, Keflezighi, Vail To Lead U.S. Contingent At NYC Marathon

The race will mark Goucher’s return to New York following her Big Apple debut in 2008.

The race will mark Goucher’s return to New York following her Big Apple debut in 2008.

(c) 2014 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

The New York Road Runners have announced the elite American field to race at the 44th TCS New York City Marathon on Sunday, Nov. 2. Led by Olympians Kara Goucher and Desiree Linden, as well as last year’s top American male Ryan Vail, the race will feature six sub-2:30 American women and four sub-2:14 men. Meb Keflezighi, the 2009 New York winner and reigning Boston Marathon champion, had previously been announced.

Goucher will be making her first start at the New York City Marathon since 2008, when she took third place in 2:25:53, the fastest ever marathon debut by an American woman. Now healthy after recovering from a sacral stress fracture, the mother of one is looking forward to returning to the marathon distance.

“Since I ran my first marathon in New York City in 2008, I have wanted to go back and run again,” Goucher said in a statement. “I am so excited after a year of injuries and changes that my return to ‘marathoning’ happens here. New York City is a very special place for me, as I was born in Queens. I have always loved the city, and I have felt a special connection since running my first marathon there.”

Last month, Goucher told Race Results Weekly that training had been going very well in Boulder, Colo., under coach Mark Wetmore, with the two-time Olympian enjoying her running more than ever before. She trains with track athletes Jenny Simpson, Emma Coburn and Shalaya Kipp.

“The passion is definitely back and I am excited for it to start,” Goucher told RRW in an exclusive telephone interview.

RELATED: Rejuvenated Goucher Ready To Return To Racing

Joining Goucher on the line in New York will be her 2012 Olympic Marathon teammate in Linden. The Hansons Brooks Original Distance Project athlete will be making her TCS New York City Marathon debut. She ran 2:23:54 at the Boston Marathon last April.

“I feel I’ve been preparing for my TCS New York City Marathon debut since the beginning of my marathon career,” said Linden, who has a runner-up finish at the 2011 Boston Marathon and a personal best of 2:22:38 on her resume. “I believe the course favors strong and experienced marathoners, and I’m excited that I’ve finally developed the fitness and fortitude to take on the challenging course and strong field that NYRR will assemble.”

Deena Kastor, the American record holder for the marathon, as well as Blake Russell, a 2008 Olympian who was third at this month’s USA 20K Championships at the Faxon Law New Haven Road Race, will also compete in New York. Lauren Kleppin and Annie Bersagel, both of whom have also dipped under 2:30, will race through the city’s five boroughs for the first time come November.

The last American woman to win the TCS New York City Marathon was Michiko “Miki” Gorman in 1977.

In 2013, Ryan Vail finished 13th overall and was the top American in New York, 2:13:23 his time. The Oklahoma State alum boasts a personal best of 2:10:57, second only to Keflezighi among American entrants this year.

RELATED: Keflezighi To Run NYC Marathon

Last year’s USA National Marathon champion Nick Arciniaga joins Vail and Keflezighi on the starting line, as do compatriots Josphat Boit, Tim Ritchie, Zach Hine and Stephan Shay, among others.

Making his marathon debut will be Luke Puskedra, a University of Oregon alum who is coached by three-time New York City Marathon champion Alberto Salazar as part of the Nike Oregon Project. Puskedra’s half marathon best stands at 61:36.

“It’s an honor and thrill to welcome such an extraordinary lineup of American runners to this year’s Marathon,” said New York Road Runners and CEO Mary Wittenberg in a statement. “Kara, Desi, and Ryan are, along with Meb, some of America’s most established and adored distance runners. As they lead the way through the city’s five boroughs and diverse running communities on Marathon Day, we’re sure they’ll inspire not only the 50,000-plus runners following in their footsteps, but the next generation of great American marathoners as well.”

The New York City Marathon saw 50,304 finishers in 2013, solidifying its spot as the largest marathon in the world.