Over 50,000 runners traversed a 26.2 mile journey through New York’s five boroughs on Sunday (1 November) to complete the world’s biggest marathon. As expected, Kenyan athletes dominated at the top of the field, with Stanley Biwott securing his first major marathon victory, while compatriot Mary Keitany became only the second female athlete to successfully defend her title.
In what was the 45th staging of the New York City Marathon, film director Spike Lee acted as official marshal plus leading the field through the city in a 1969 Chrysler 300 convertible.
The course took competitors over the bridge at Brooklyn, New York's most populous borough and continued past the buildings and buzz of Queens and the Bronx, before reaching the exhilarating crowds in Manhattan. Central Park provided the setting for the last stretch of the course where spectators gathered to watch participants take their last few strides to the finish.
Keitany, who won a thrilling contest in 2014 with a sprint finish, enjoyed a more comfortable victory on Sunday in a time of 2:24:35, more than a minute ahead of Ethiopian pair Aselefech Mergia (2:25:32) and Tigist Tufa (2:25:50). The Kenyan’s success means she is the first female athlete to record consecutive victories since Paula Radcliffe achieved the feat in 2007 and 2008.
Keitany, who took home prize money of $100,000, outlined her tactical approach which secured the victory: “When I made my move around 30K, I said, 'ok, let me just go and if somebody is more strong, she can come, and we can go…they never got me, so I just crossed the line alone."
Biwott and fellow countryman Geoffrey Kamworor led the field for the duration of the race, with the former making a decisive move at around 24 miles to record his biggest career win to date in 2:10:34. Kamworor crossed the line 14 seconds later, with Lelisa Desisa third (2:12:10), while last year’s winner, Wilson Kipsang, took fourth in 2:12:45. 40-year-old Meb Keflezighi maintained what has been an impressive season with a seventh place finish in 2:13.32, a new US Master’s record.
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