Samuelson out, but N.Y. field is packed

November 02, 1990|By Phil Jackman | Phil Jackman,Evening Sun Staff

One of the big names, Joan Benoit Samuelson, will be missing Sunday, but the fact is the New York City Marathon will never be wanting for marquee performers, so enormous has the event become.

Samuelson, the 1984 Olympic champion, phoned regrets to race organizers from her home in Maine yesterday, citing leg and back problems. Along with a half-dozen other women, Samuelson had taken on the role of spoiler as Grete Waitz attempts to win her 10th race through the streets of the city's five boroughs.

It's still a great race with last year's second-place finisher Kim Jones, Wanda Panfil of Poland, Katrin Dorre of Germany and U.S. standouts Margaret Groos, Nancy Ditz and Julie Isphording all strong contenders for spots in the top three.

"It's disappointing, because I had been pointing toward this race for so long," said Samuelson. Recently, she has run two half-marathons in the time of about 1:12 and was a good bet to reach her goal of getting under 2:30. She remains confident that despite injuries and two young children, her running days are not over.

Meanwhile, on the men's side of the race -- which starts just after 10:30 a.m. Sunday at the Staten Island side of the Verrazano Bridge with about 23,000 answering the starter's cannon -- the heavy favorites are defending champ Juma Ikangaa of Tanzania and Douglas Wakiihuri of Kenya. Ikangaa's time in 1989 was 2:08:01.

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