Olympic gold medalist Joshua Cheptegei, half-marathon world-record holder Jacob Kiplimo, and defending wheelchair champion Daniel Romanchuk to headline men’s fields
Three-time champion Molly Huddle, Olympic and World Championships medalist Hellen Obiri, and TCS New York City Marathon wheelchair winner Susannah Scaroni to lead women’s fields
The 2023 United Airlines NYC Half on Sunday, March 19 will feature professional athletes from 17 different countries, including 19 Olympians, 11 Paralympians, and seven past event champions, making it one of the most diverse fields in the race’s history.
The men’s open division will be headlined by Olympic champion Joshua Cheptegei, half-marathon world-record holder Jacob Kiplimo, and Olympic medalist Galen Rupp. Defending champion Senbere Teferi, Olympic and World Championships medalist Hellen Obiri, and three-time event champion Molly Huddle will lead the women’s open division. A trio of past TCS New York City Marathon and United Airlines NYC Half champions – Susannah Scaroni, Manuela Schär, and Daniel Romanchuk – will feature in the strongest wheelchair field in event history, which will also welcome Paralympic medalists Catherine Debrunner and Jetze Plat for the first time.
These athletes will lead more than 25,000 runners at the United Airlines NYC Half, which goes from Brooklyn to Manhattan, passing historic landmarks, diverse neighborhoods and sweeping views of the city along the way before ending in Central Park.
Men’s Open Division
A pair of Ugandans, two-time Olympic and four-time World Championships medalist Cheptegei and Olympic medalist and two-time World Champion Kiplimo, will race head-to-head in the men’s open division as they take on an NYRR race for the first time. At 26 years old, Cheptegei is the reigning Olympic gold medalist in the 5,000 meters and world champion in the 10,000 meters, as well as the world-record holder in both the 5,000 and 10,000 meters. In November 2021, Kiplimo set the half marathon world record of 57:31 to win the Lisbon Half three months after taking a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics in the 10,000 meters. Then last year, the 22-year-old won bronze in the 10,000 meters at the World Championships. He won the gold medal, ahead of Cheptegei’s bronze, at the World Cross Country Championships in Bathurst, Australia, on February 18.
“I’m very excited for my first race in New York City, the United Airlines NYC Half,” said Cheptegei. “One of the primary goals for 2023 is to defend my 10,000-meter gold medal from the World Championships, and this half marathon is an important part of those preparations. The race seems like a great tour of New York City and it’s very cool that we get to run through Times Square. There’s so much running history in New York, and the city has seen so many champions battling it out in iconic races. I want to add to that history.”
“It will be my USA road racing debut at the United Airlines NYC Half next month, and I will try hard to become the first champion from Uganda,” Kiplimo said. “My gold medal from the World Cross Country Championships last weekend shows that everybody will need to be at their best to beat me. I have been told that the NYC Half course is difficult, and a record may not be possible, so I will focus on being the first across the finish line in Central Park.”
Challenging the Ugandan pair will be two-time U.S. Olympic medalist and Chicago Marathon champion Rupp, last year’s United Airlines NYC Half runner-up Edward Cheserek of Kenya, and past event champions Ben True of the United States and Belay Tilahun of Ethiopia.
Women’s Open Division
Two-time Olympian Huddle will be racing the United Airlines NYC Half for the first time since taking her third consecutive victory in the event in 2017. Huddle won the race in 2015, 2016, and 2017, with her winning time of 1:07:41 from 2016 setting an event record that stood until last year. The former American record-holder in the half marathon was fifth at the Houston Half Marathon in January, nine months after giving birth to her daughter.
“In a lot of ways, my three-straight wins at the United Airlines NYC Half really began my transition to full-time road racing. I’m excited to return to the race for the first time in six years, with a different mindset towards training and racing since the birth of my daughter,” Huddle said. “I’m inspired to teach her the value of hard work and resilience, and where better to do that than the city that has seen some of my career’s greatest successes?”
Huddle will line up against Ethiopia’s two-time Olympian Teferi, who last year broke Huddle’s event record, finishing in a time of 1:07:35 to win the race, and returned to Central Park three months later to win her first Mastercard New York Mini 10K. She is also a two-time World Championships silver medalist and the 5K world-record holder for a women-only race.
Two-time Olympic medalist and seven-time world championships medalist Obiri of Kenya, three-time Olympian and four-time European Championships medalist Eilish McColgan, and two-time U.S. Olympian and 2018 Boston Marathon champion Des Linden will also toe the line.
Men’s Wheelchair Division
Romanchuk, a two-time Paralympic medalist and two-time TCS New York City Marathon winner, will race for his third consecutive United Airlines NYC Half title. In 2018, Romanchuk became the first American and youngest athlete ever to win the men’s wheelchair division at the TCS New York City Marathon, and he repeated as champion in 2019. In 2021, he won his first set of Paralympic medals, taking 400-meter gold by one hundredth of a second and winning bronze in the marathon.
He will be challenged over 13.1 miles by the Netherlands’ Plat, a Paralympic champion in both cycling and triathlon who last year switched to road racing. He made his marathon debut at the London Marathon, finishing fifth, and followed that up with a third-place finish at the TCS New York City Marathon.
Paralympians Johnboy Smith of Great Britain, Rafael Botello of Spain, and Brian Siemann of the United States will also compete for podium spots.
Women’s Wheelchair Division
Coming off her victories at the TCS New York City Marathon and Chicago Marathon last fall, Scaroni will seek her first United Airlines NYC Half title since 2017. In November, she won the TCS New York City Marathon in 1:42:43 to break the previous course record of 1:43:04 set by Tatyana McFadden in 2015. She is a two-time Paralympic medalist who has also won all four wheelchair division titles at the Mastercard New York Mini 10K.
“I’m really excited and honored to compete at this year’s United Airlines NYC Half,” Scaroni said. “This course is so iconic and meaningful to me since we get to race through Times Square alongside the Kids Run. After having to miss this race last year due to Covid, I am extra pumped to finally return.”
Scaroni will face competition from Switzerland’s eight-time Paralympic medalist and three-time TCS New York City Marathon champion Manuela Schär, who won the race in 2022, 2018, and 2015. Another Swiss racer, two-time Paralympic medalist Catherine Debrunner, will race in the U.S. for the first time after having a banner year last year with surprise titles at both the Berlin and London marathons. Berlin marked her first career marathon, and in London she broke the course record.
The United Airlines NYC Half women’s open and wheelchair division professional athlete fields are presented by Mastercard.
The event will be covered locally in the tri-state area by ABC New York, Channel 7 with live news cut-ins between 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Additionally, the four professional fields will be covered by a livestream, distributed internationally from NYRR‘s digital channels, abc7ny.com, and the ESPN App, beginning at 7:00 a.m. ET.