Women Pass Men for Top Prize in New York Marathon
By ELLIOTT DENMAN
Published: June 15, 2005
The women's winner of the New York City Marathon on Nov. 6 will run off with a check for $130,000, the biggest in the history of marathon competition and $30,000 more than the reward for the men's winner.
The announcement was made yesterday by Mary Wittenberg, president and chief executive of the New York Road Runners and the director of the marathon.
The additional $30,000 will be provided by ING, the title sponsor, through its Run for Something Better program to benefit community and youth running organizations.
"We've always prided ourselves, since early in the days of Fred Lebow and Allan Steinfeld, in promoting and doing all that we can for women's running," Wittenberg said, referring to the former presidents of New York Road Runners.
Donna Lopiano, the executive director of the Women's Sports Foundation, told Bloomberg News that it might be the first time a women's champion would earn more than a men's champion in the same event.
The previous top prizes for marathon champions were the $125,000 payoffs to the men's and women's winners of the 2004 Chicago Marathon.
"In 2002, we highlighted our commitment to women's running by starting the women up front and visible for the spectators and for TV, giving them their own special start," Wittenberg said. "So, now in 2005, we take this unprecedented step."
Wittenberg said she expected no complaints from men in the race.
"We have already signed up six of the very top men in the world," she said. "They are very much aware of this program, and they understand."
The Olympians Lornah Kiplagat of the Netherlands, Marie Davenport of Ireland and Jen Rhines of Ardmore, Pa., attended the announcement and expect to be among the top women in the race.
More than 85,000 runners have applied for marathon berths; 54,000 will be accepted, and Wittenberg said she expected about 37,000 to race. About one-third will be women.