Citing tightness in his calves, Meb Keflezighi has withdrawn from Sunday's NYC Half 2013, the New York Road Runners announced Wednesday.
Keflezighi, the 2009 ING New York City Marathon champion, has been battling the tightness for about a week. Although he has been able to maintain his aerobic fitness through cross-training on a bike, he and longtime coach Bob Larsen alerted NYRR on Tuesdsay night that they felt he should withdraw from the race to avoid the risk of further injury.
Keflezighi is scheduled to compete in the Boston Marathon on April 15.
"I am sad to announce that I will not be able to run the NYC Half this weekend," said Keflezighi in a statement. "This has been one of the most difficult decisions in my career. I invested a lot of time and made many sacrifices to prepare for both the NYC Half and Boston Marathon. I had two months of great training in San Diego, where I was away from my wife and kids. My workouts indicated I had great fitness, but a recent setback in my training is keeping me from running the NYC Half.
"At this time, I cannot afford to push my body against the outstanding field the NYRR have assembled and still prepare for the Boston Marathon. As we all know, training for big races doesn't always go the way you want. I am very fortunate to have a history of strong performances on big stages and was hoping for the same with the NYC half-marathon. But due to the timing of the setback, I will have to skip this race in order to give myself and my team the best chance to have a strong performance at the Boston Marathon."
The men's field for Sunday's NYC Half features, among others, Wilson Kipsang of Kenya, the 2012 Olympic marathon bronze medalist; and Americans Dathan Ritzenhein, the 2009 IAAF World Half-Marathon Championships bronze medalist and the second-fastest American in history; Abdi Abdirahman, a four-time Olympian and the reigning U.S. Half-Marathon champion; and two-time Olympic 1,500-meter medalist Bernard Lagat, who will be making his half-marathon debut.