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Celebrities joining in marathon

October 29, 2006|From the Associated Press

NEW YORK — Some are attracted by speed, others by danger. Some crave competition, others need a hobby.

Celebrities ranging from actors to politicians long have been enticed by the sports world. The latest is a former champion athlete who remains a celebrity in retirement -- Lance Armstrong, who will run in next weekend's New York City Marathon.

A former triathlete whose remarkable endurance led him to a record seven straight Tour de France cycling titles, Armstrong is not among the contenders in the Nov. 5 marathon. Neither is Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee nor supermodel Kim Alexis, both of whom also plan to run next Sunday in New York.

Instead, they share a desire to conquer a new challenge, if not the world-class athletes. Armstrong is an exception, but even he's more focused on raising money for his cancer charity than winning the race.

The real contenders say they're glad to have celebs in the race.

"I think it's a definite help; it just gives us more publicity in the sport," said Deena Kastor, a strong candidate to become the first U.S. woman to win in New York since 1977. "So it's fun any time you can relate to someone in the sport, search for their names in the listings."

Chef Bobby Flay, mountain climber Ed Viesturs and former Olympic gymnastics champion Shannon Miller are among the other celebrities signed up for the New York race. Flay completed the New York City Marathon in 2002. Viesturs and Miller will be running their maiden marathons.

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