Impressive debut - Mo Farah takes the New York City Half Marathon (Lisa Coniglio/New York Road Runners) © Copyright
General News New York, USA

Farah triumphs in Half Marathon debut in New York

Great Britain’s Mo Farah and Kenyan Caroline Rotich won the NYC Half this morning (20).

Running his first-ever Half Marathon, 27-year-old Farah finished in 1:00:23, the third-fastest time in the race’s six-year history. Ethiopia’s Gebre Gebremariam was the runner-up (1:00:25) and American Galen Rupp was third (1:00:30). Rotich, 26, also won a close race; her course-record 1:08:52 bested runner-up Edna Kiplagat (1:09:00), also of Kenya, and American Kara Goucher (1:09:03).
 
Farah is the reigning European champion at 5000 and 10,000m and holds the British indoor and outdoor 5000m records. He recently relocated from Teddington, England to Portland, OR, to train with coach Alberto Salazar. Farah ran a smart, patient race, staying in the lead pack through a slow opening 10K (29:32) and passing Gebremariam in the final metres.
 
“I’m in the best shape of my life,” said Farah, who trains with Rupp, also coached by Salazar and also making his Half Marathon debut today. “Alberto’s a great coach, and Galen and I have been running a lot more miles. We believe in ourselves.”
 
Rotich, whose finishing time was a personal best by nearly a minute and a half, broke away from Kiplagat and Goucher in the final 400 metres and raised her arms high as she crossed the finish line on the West Side Highway in Lower Manhattan. “I knew I’d have to be under my personal record today, and I was,” she said. It was her first NYC Half.
 
Gebremariam, 26, the 2009 IAAF World Cross Country champion and the reigning ING New York City Marathon champion, equalled his Half Marathon best from the Rock ’n Roll Philadelphia Half-Marathon last September. Kiplagat, 31, also the 2010 ING New York City Marathon champ, ran a Half Marathon career best today as she tuned up for the Virgin London Marathon next month.
 
Rupp, the 2010 and 2009 USA 10,000m winner, recovered from a fall in the seventh mile that also took down defending NYC Half champion Peter Kamais of Kenya, who wound up fifth in 1:00:46. Goucher, 32, tuning up for the Boston Marathon on 18 April, showed dramatic improvement from the 1:14:02 she ran to place second at the P.F. Chang’s Rock ’n’ Roll Half-Marathon in January. Goucher gave birth to her first child, son Colton, last September.
 
“It would have been great to win today,” said Goucher, the 2007 IAAF World Championships 10,000m bronze medallist, “but this was a step in the right direction.”
 
The NYC Half offers the largest Half Marathon prize purse in the United States: $100,000. The men’s and women’s champions each earned $20,000, the largest first-prize checks for a non-marathon race in the country. The race was broadcast live at tv.nyrr.org.
 
On a course designed to celebrate New York City, the NYC Half takes runners on a loop through Central Park, down Seventh Avenue through Times Square, across 42nd Street, and along the expansive West Side Highway to Battery Park in the heart of the city’s financial district, finishing with a view of the Statue of Liberty.

Organisers for the IAAF