Kenyan runners took top honors at the 2019 New York City Marathon held on November 3.
In the men’s category, Geoffrey Kamworor triumphed covering the distance in 2:08:13. He was followed to the finish line by fellow Kenyan, Albert Korir (2:08:36). Girma Bekele Gebre of Ethiopia placed third with timing of 2:08:38. Also finishing in the top ten were Tamirat Tola of Ethiopia (2:09:20), Shura Kitata of Ethiopia (2:10:39), Jared Ward of US (2:10:45), Stephen Sambu of Kenya (2:11:11), Yoshiki Takenouchi of Japan (2:11:18) Abdi Abdirahman of US (2:11:34) and Connor McMillan of US (2:12:07).
Defending champion, Lesisa Desisa of Ethiopia, pulled out at mile seven owing to tightness in the hamstring, a report in New York Post said. Less than a month before, he had become world champion winning the men’s marathon at the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha; a race held in very warm conditions and therefore likely physically draining. Kamworor is the current world record holder in the men’s half marathon, a mark he set at the 2019 Copenhagen Half Marathon in September. He had won the New York City Marathon in 2017. Interestingly, according to news reports in September, he consciously traded participation at the Doha world championships for a shot at the half marathon world record in Copenhagen.
Among women, Joyciline Jepkosgei of Kenya emerged victor completing the race in 2:22:38. Mary Keitany, also of Kenya, placed second at 2:23:32. Ruti Aga of Ethiopia finished third with timing of 2:25:51. Other runners in the top ten segment included Nancy Kiprop of Kenya (2:26:21), Sinead Diver of Australia (2:26:23), Desiree Linden of US (2:26:46), Kellyn Taylor of US (2:26:52), Ellie Pashley of Australia (2:27:07), Belaynesh Fikadu of Ethiopia (2:27:27) and Mary Ngugi of Kenya (2:27:36).
Jepkosgei’s win was noteworthy for the fact that it was her first attempt at the full marathon at a major event. She has been a world record holder in the women’s half marathon and, according to Wikipedia, is the current record holder in the women’s 10 kilometers. Fellow Kenyan, Mary Keitany, who she beat to second spot, was racing for a fifth title in New York.
(The author, Shyam G Menon, is a freelance journalist based in Mumbai.)