Kenya’s Albert Korir won the men’s title and compatriot Peres Jepchirchir captured the women’s crown at the 50th New York Marathon on Sunday with surges over the final miles.
About 30,000 runners competed in the 26.2-mile run through the “Big Apple” after last year’s race was wiped out by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Korir was the 2019 runner-up, finishing 23 seconds behind Kenyan Geoffrey Kamworor, but crossed the line first on Sunday in 2hrs 8mins 22secs to beat Morocco’s Mohamed El Aaraby by 44 seconds with Eritrean-born Italian Eyob Faniel third in 2:09:52.
“It was not an easy race but I enjoyed it,” Korir said. “When I tried to push it tactically, it was there.”
Jepchirchir became first reigning Olympic champion to win the women’s race, claiming the victory in 2:22:39 just 13 weeks after her triumph in Japan.
“It was not expected. Unbelievable,” Jepchirchir said. “I thank God I finished the season well after winning the Olympic marathon.
“Time was short but I tried my best to make sure I finished my work, completed my preparations.”
Kenya’s Viola Cheptoo, the sister of Kenyan-born US star Bernard Lagat, was second in 2:22:44 with Ethiopia’s Ababel Yeshaneh, the 2019 Chicago Marathon runner-up, third in 2;22:52.
Jepchirchir, 28, could not dispatch her fellow podium finishers until a late charge over the last turns in Central Park.
“The course is not bad but it’s not easy,” she said.
“I feel something I never felt before finishing a marathon. I don’t know where the energy was coming from. Thank God it came to me in the last few minutes.”
Somalian-born Dutch runner Abdi Nageeye, the Tokyo Olympic marathon runner-up, was fifth in 2:11:39 in his New York debut. Nageeye, 32, was 24 seconds behind fourth-place American Elkanah Kibet.
Ethiopian legend Kenenisa Bekele, the 2016 and 2019 Berlin Marathon winner and a three-time Olympic champion shorter distances, was sixth in 2:12:52. He finished thir only six weeks earlier at Berlin.
Kenya’s Kibiwott Kandie, the world record holder for the half-marathon, was ninth in his debut at the distance in 2:13;43.
Faniel and El Aaraby surged to a 51-second lead midway into the race, but Korir, Kandie and Kibet chased them over the next five miles.
Korir, a 2019 marathon winner at Ottawa and Houston, took a 17 second-lead after 21 miles and held firm from there.
In the women’s race, Jepchirchir, Yashaneh and Cheptoo made it a three-woman race by the 20-mile mark and stayed together until Jepchirchir’s closing kick.