By Mike Rowbottom

Kurt_Fearnley_wins_New_York_City_Marathon_November_2_2008September 28 - Kurt Fearnley, the double Paralympic marathon champion, has been announced for this year's ING New York Marathon on November 6.

The Australian, who holds the course record and won in New York from 2006-2009 inclusive before being beaten by his great rival David Weir in last year's race, will take on a field that already includes Masazumi Soejima of Japan, Switzerland's Heinz Frei and Marcel Hug, Krige Schabort of the United States, Ernst Van Dyk of South Africa, and 2010 London Marathon winner Josh Cassidy of Canada.

Meanwhile Edith Wolf-Hunkeler, the women's course record holder, and American Tatyana McFadden, the 2010 winner, have been signed to join a field which already includes Wakako Tsuchida of Japan, Amanda McGrory - silver medallist in the Beijing Paralympic marathon -  and Christina Ripp Schwab of the United States, Shelly Woods of Great Britain, and Christie Dawes of Australia.

"We have a star-studded international field for the ING New York City Marathon 2011 that brings together an incredible lineup of champions from this year's Boston, London, and LA marathons," said New York Road Runners president and chief executive Mary Wittenberg.

Fearnley, 30, of Australia, is one of the most colorful - and feared - wheelchair athletes in the world.

He has captured nine medals at the Paralympic Games, and won four consecutive ING New York City Marathon titles; his 1 hour 29min 22sec course record from 2006 still stands.

Fearnley has won Paralympic marathon gold medals, World Championships marathon gold, and has marathon wins in 10 countries on five continents.

"Finishing up my marathon racing year in New York is an annual event for me, which has special meaning in 2011, because I am here as a married man for the first time, with my wife, Sheridan, and I have a special mission, which is to become the champion again, after my four-year winning streak was broken in 2010," said Fearnley.

Wolf-Hunkeler, 39, of Switzerland, is a five-time ING New York City Marathon champion - 2004 and 2005 and 2007-2009 - and set the course record twice, including her still-standing mark of 1:52:38 from 2007.

Hunkeler did not race in 2010, as she gave birth to her first child, daughter Elin, on September 14, 2010.

Edith_Wolf-Hunkeler_with_Kurt_Fearnley_at_New_York_City_MarathonWolf-Hunkeler (pictured with Fearnley) also holds the Olympic wheelchair marathon record at 1:39:21.

"New York is the highlight of my season," she said.

"It is also special and beautiful moment after the birth of my daughter Elin to again participate in a major marathon, which brought me so much success in the past."

McFadden, 22, of Clarksville in Maryland, a student at the University of Illinois, won last year's ING New York City Marathon with the boldest of tactics.

She powered up the course's biggest hill - the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge - in the first mile and took a 30 meter lead that would only widen as the race went on.

As packs of racers worked together behind her, McFadden pushed on alone for the entire distance.

By the finish, her lead had grown to nearly six minutes.

McFadden is a six-time Paralympic medalist, five-time American record-holder, and multi-gold medal winner at the most recent Paralympic World Championships in New Zealand.

She was a 2011 nominee for the ESPY (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly) Award in the Female Athlete with a Disability category.

"I am thrilled to be returning to the ING New York City Marathon this year," said McFadden.

"It will be incredible to defend my title against this amazingly deep and talented field of athlete. I really look forward to the challenge and the excitement that comes with the marathon in New York City."

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