Dathan Ritzenhein will return to his marathon roots and race to the Big Apple this November to compete in the ING New York City Marathon. NYRR CEO Mary Wittenburg announced today, July 20, 2010 that Ritzenhein, a two-time Olympian, will race the New York City Marathon for the first time since his 26.2 mile debut in 2006. Ritz will challenge defending champion Meb Keflezighi and marathon world record holder Haile Gebrselassie on November 7, 2010.
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Dathan Ritzenhein has not raced a marathon since the London Marathon in 2009, but is confident with his training program with new coach, Alberto Salazar. Salazar serves as coach for many elite athletes, including Kara Goucher and Galen Rupp, and is a three-time ING New York City Marathon winner himself.
Despite dealing with various injuries over the past year, including a stress fracture in his foot, Ritzenhein has stayed in marathon-shape by using the Alter-G treadmill, intense cross training and gradual build-up to outdoor running. Both Ritz and Salazar are optimistic that the Portland, Oregon-native will be race ready by the time the ING New York City Marathon gun goes off this fall.
Ritzenhein has fared well in New York in the past, placing 11th in 2:14:01 during his 2006 marathon debut and finishing second in 2:11:07 at the 2008 Olympic Marathon Trials. He earned an automatic spot Team USA for the Beijing Olympics where Ritz was the first American to cross the line, finishing ninth with a time of 2:11:59. He owns a marathon personal best of 2:10:00 from the 2009 London Marathon.
After switching coaches to Salazar in May 2009, Ritzenhein placed sixth in the 10,000 meters at the IAAF World Championships in Berlin in a PR of 27:22.28 and third at the World Half Marathon Championships, in Birmingham with a time of 60:00. At the Weltklasse Meeting in Zurich, Switzerland, Ritzenhein placed third in the 5,000 meters and set a new American record with a time of 12:56.27, which was recently broken by Chris Solinsky.
American Meb Keflezighi will try to defend his ING New York City Marathon title on November 7, 2010 against both Ritzenhein and marathon world record holder Haile Gebrselassie. Geb set the marathon world record in 2008 at the Berlin Marathon in a time of 2:03:59, while Meb’s NYC win in 2009 marked the first American win in New York in 27 years. His winning time of 2:09:15 now serves as his personal record in the 26.2 distance