Gebre Gebremariam of Ethiopia and Kenyan Edna Kiplagat won the men’s and women’s races as the ING New York City Marathon chugged into its fifth decade with a record 45,344 entrants.
The ING New York City Marathon is an IAAF Gold Label Road Race.
Gebremariam, in his first Marathon, ran the perfect New York race on the perfect day, with a temperature that began about 10 degrees Celsius and rose only a little during the race.
Halfway through the race, the winner was just one of the usual mob of 20 or so keeping an eye on front-runner Haile Gebrselassie as they went through in a moderate 1:05:19. Who, after all, is going to risk making a fool of himself by tweaking the World record holder?
A few minutes later, running downhill at the end of the Queensboro Bridge, Gebrselassie, who had had his right knee drained of fluid a day earlier – slowed, moved to the right and -- stopped.
Game on. No more 5-minute miles.
Going up First Avenue, where the hard racing usually begins, the hard racing began. Kenyan Emmanuel Mutai blasted through a 4:28 Mile 17, cutting the lead group to eight and dropping 2009 winner Meb Keflezighi of the USA.
Mile 18, run in 4:32, cut the leaders to four: Gebremariam (the rookie), Mutai, Abderrahime Bouramdane of Morocco, and diminutive Kenyan James Kwambai. Kwambai put in a surge, got 15 metres ahead briefly, but that was his last shot.
In Mile 21, Mutai and Gebremariam moved away and ran side-by-side into and in Central Park until at 40km, where Gebremariam moved decisively away. He crossed the line in 2:08:14, with Mutai second in 2:09:18. Kenyan Moses Kigen Kipkosgei, who didn’t get a call the entire race, finished like a hurricane to take third in 2:10:39. Morocco's Abderrahim Goumri also passed Kwambai for fourth in 2:10:51 to 2:11:31, and Keflezighi took sixth in 2:1138.
Gebremariam said, “Before the race I thought I would be happy to finish. To win makes me very happy! It’s my first marathon, and I’m Number One here!”
Kiplagat outlasts debutants Flanagan and Keitany - women's race
The women’s race began with an equally large lead group, with 20 of them together at the midpoint in 1:15:47, and even at mile 21 there were more than a dozen looking like possible winners.
Then, thanks to surges by debutants Mary Keitany (KEN) and Shalane Flanagan (US), there were very suddenly only three, the third being Los Angeles winner Edna Kiplagat. Inside Central Park, with two miles or so to go, Flanagan made a move and built a five-metre lead; but not for long, and soon she was fading and third.
Then Kiplagat struck. She moved ahead, slowly at first and then looking back and seeing daylight behind her, she confidently increased the pace, crossing the finish line in 2:28:20. Behind her Flanagan passed the broken Keitany to take second in 2:28:40. Keitany held third in 2:29:01, and was followed by Inga Abitova (RUS), 2:29:17, KimSmith (NZL) 2:29:28, and Christelle Daunay (FRA) 2:29:29.
Winner Kiplagat said she thought the pace was "a bit slow." But, she added, "Around 20 miles, that's when I started picking up. In the 24th mile, I tried to put more effort, and I found I was pulling away."
Show Me the Money Department: Gebremariam, now to be known as “the new Geb,” “Geb II,” “Geb Geb,” or perhaps “Double Geb,” takes home $130,000 prize money, plus a $40,000 time bonus. Not bad for a beginner.
Kiplagat, winning her second big time Marathon in a row in what turned out to be great style, won $130,000 plus a $5,000 time bonus. Flanagan, in addition to her $65,000 second-place prize and a $5,000 time bonus, picked up an additional $40,000 because as the first American finisher she became the U.S. national champion in the Marathon.
Also not bad for a beginner.
James Dunaway for the IAAF
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