NEW YORK — Two-time champion Martin Lel of Kenya has withdrawn from the New York City Marathon with a leg injury.

New York Road Runners officials announced the pullout Wednesday.

The 31-year-old Lel won the Great North Half Marathon in England last month, but his manager Federico Rosa says a nagging leg injury surfaced during training.

Lel won the NYC Marathon in 2003 and 2007. He was considered a favorite in Sunday’s five-borough race. Others in the field include defending champion Marilson Gomes dos Santos of Brazil and U.S. standouts Ryan Hall and Meb Keflezighi.

“It is a blow to lose (Martin) Lel,” said NYRR president and CEO Mary Wittenberg. “We’ll miss him. Athletes of his calibre walk a fine line between being in winning form and being injured or sick.

“Understanding this, we ensure our fields run deep, and I am pleased our men’s field remains one of the best ever.”

Tatyana Petrova of Russia withdrew from the women’s race because of illness.

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