NEW YORK — When the New York City Marathon gets under way this morning for 26.2 miles through the city's five boroughs, it will boast a field including three former men's champions and one former women's champion--but not the woman who has won the marathon almost every year for nearly a decade.
Norwegian Grete Waitz, the winner here every year but one since 1978, will sit out this year's race, recovering from a stress fracture. Instead, New Zealander Allison Roe, who won in 1981 when Waitz dropped out with shin splints, will compete again this year.
The favorite, however, is Britain's Priscilla Welch, 42, who holds the world record for women over 40: 2 hours 26 minutes 51 seconds.
In the men's division, defending champion Gianni Poli of Italy has returned, hoping for his second consecutive win. He won the race last year in 2:11:06, beating Australian Rob de Castella by 37 seconds.