All three NYRR Team for Kids Ambassadors–Molly Huddle, Tatyana McFadden, and Meb Keflezighi–will take part in the TCS New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 6, with both women racing the five-borough course and Keflezighi and the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Team serving as the race’s Grand Marshals.
Huddle, 32, will be heavily in the spotlight when she makes her marathon debut in her home state, just months after breaking the American 10,000-meter record at the Rio 2016 Olympics. She a two-time defending champion in the United Airlines NYC Half, and this year she lowered the event record by 50 seconds.
The University of Notre Dame product is the newest NYRR Team for Kids Ambassador, and earlier this year she paced the first-ever Girls’ Run at the NYRR New York Mini 10K.
In preparation for her 26.2-mile debut, she’s averaged 110 miles a week on the roads this fall.
“It's so surreal,” Huddle said. “I'm kind of like, ‘What am I going to do? How is this going to feel?’ I have some doubts, but I'm also really excited for Sunday. I prepared but it wasn't perfect. Hopefully, on race day, I can take what I learned with me.”
Huddle spoke with Keflezighi–the 2009 New York City Marathon winner–earlier this week to get some advice. Here’s what he told her:
“What I told her is this is your kind of course. Just be patient, stay healthy, and put in the miles. Do it smart, and be 90 percent healthy and not overdo it … I told her what I know and where I made mistakes so she doesn't have to make the same mistakes.”
McFadden, meanwhile, is a veteran on the New York City Marathon course and will be going for her fourth consecutive and fifth overall title in the professional wheelchair division. The 17-time Paralympic medalist lowered the event record last year by seven minutes and 20 seconds with a time of 1:43:04, and this year has won the Boston, Virgin Money London and Bank of America Chicago Marathons.
She had a spectacular six-medal Paralympic performance in Rio this summer, including gold medals in the 400, 500, 1500, and 5000-meter events. She took silver in the marathon in a photo finish with China’s Zou Lihong, who will be making her TCS New York City Marathon debut.
McFadden flew straight from Rio to help launch NYRR’s new youth wheelchair racing program, leading a clinic at PS 333, Manhattan School for Children, and donating a racing chair to the program.
“We're so excited,” McFadden said. "It's the first year that we've launched the youth wheelchair division through NYRR Team for Kids, and it's an amazing turnout. It's an important move for the future, and it's absolutely amazing that we're starting from kids as young as six, and then we have some kids who are in their late teens. That's amazing. We have kids who never knew about wheelchair racing, and we're providing the help that they need.”
McFadden, who sits atop the current Abbott World Marathon Majors wheelchair standings with 91 points, will be challenged in New York by Lihong, two-time champion Amanda McGrory, and 2016 BMW Berlin Marathon winner Manuela Schar.
Finally, while Keflezighi won’t be running the race, he will serve as one of the Grand Marshals, along with 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Team members Amy Cragg, Shalane Flanagan, Desiree Linden, and Jared Ward. The team will ride in the official Grand Marshal vehicle through the 26.2-mile marathon route on race day and participate in race-week festivities and the live broadcast on WABC-TV, Channel 7, and ESPN 2.
“It's great to be back in New York as the Grand Marshal and an ambassador for Team for Kids,” he said.
By Stuart Lieberman
GET YOUR STORIES ON. Read more inspiring stories from runners chronicling their journeys to the TCS New York City Marathon starting line.
TUNE IN. The 2016 TCS New York City Marathon will be televised live on Sunday, November 6, on WABC-TV, Channel 7 in the New York tri-state area from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET, and for the rest of the nation on ESPN2 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET.