Mary Keitany & Lelisa Desisa Win TCS NYC Marathon

Photo Credit: Nicolle Monico

Mary Keitany has done it again! Securing her fourth win at the TCS New York City Marathon, the Kenyan distance runner broke through tape in 2:22.48. With her finish time, Keitany has the second fastest time in history in the women’s professional field and is one of only six women who have finished in under 2:24 in New York. Keitany was followed by Vivian Cheruiyot (KEN) in 2:26.02 and defending champion Shalane Flanagan in 2:26.22.

On the men’s side, it all came down to the last few seconds as Ethiopian Lelisa Desisa crossed the finish in 2:05.59. Coming in second was Shura Kitata (ETH) in 2:06.01 and Geoffrey Kamworor 2:06.26 (KEN). All three finish times made them the second, third and fourth fastest times on the course, respectively.

In the men’s wheelchair field, Daniel Romanchuk set a new record by being the first American to win in his division and claimed his victory in 1:36.21. This year’s women’s wheelchair winner is Manuela Shur who finished in 1:50.27.

Here’s how it all went down…

Men’s Professional Field

Kicking things off at 9:50 a.m. in 47 degree weather, the men’s open division began with a trek across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge as Shura Kitata (ETH) pulled away from the pack early on to take the lead in the first mile with a 5:14 average pace. Coming into their second mile, the men flew through the streets at 4:55 a mile, picking it up off the bridge. Early on, Americans Scott Fauble, Scott Smith, Abdi Abdirahman and Jared Ward ran in stride in the front coming into mile three.

At the 5-mile mark, the top five spots were claimed by the Ethiopians, with Girma Bekele Gebre in front with a time of 15:37. Looking relaxed and running with ease, Kitata took back his lead at miles 7 and 8, followed by Tamirat Tola (ETH) and Geoffrey Kamworor (KEN), this year’s defending champion.

Eleven miles in, Kitata held around a 10 second lead in front of Daniel Wanjiru (KEN), the man who beat him in London last year. Even early on, Kitata’s lead seemed to only add distance between him and his competitors and didn’t let up through the half, as he came in at 1:03.55.

Across the Queensboro Bridge, the top five stayed close together, as the Ethiopians and Kenyans out-paced the rest of the field around the 25K mark. At 17 miles, at this pace, the men were projected to finish in around 2:07.20. Motioning to the other men around him, Kamworor was seen telling Tola and Desisa to box him in or push forward to make it more of a track race.

What continued as a close race throughout the 26.2 miles, came down to the last mile with Desisa and Kitata battling it out within seconds of each other. With just under a second lead, Kitata broke the tape and became the new 2018 TCS New York City champion. Four American men made it into the top 10: Jared Ward in sixth (2:12.24), Scott Fauble in seventh (2:12.28), Shadrack Biwott in ninth (2:12.52) and Chris Derrick in 10th (2:13.08).

Women’s Professional Field

As the gun went off, the women looked strong, with many donning bright pink Nike’s. But most importantly, they were dry on this beautifully sunny day. With the first hill being their first challenge and crossing the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, Stephanie Bruce was out early, leading the tightly-packed group. Across the bridge, Des Linden and Mary Keitany (KEN) surged ahead to second and third place while Shalane Flanagan and Molly Huddle kept it more conservative in the middle behind Allie Kieffer (USA) and Rahma Tusa (ETH).

Off the bridge, and two miles in, the pack looked fast with a speedy time of 5:44 for the mile. Adding some distance to their competitors around three miles, Linden and Keiffer charged ahead with Huddle and Flanagan close behind. At 5K, Netsanet Gudeta (ETH) and Keitany passed Linden to take first and second places, respectively, but it was back and forth between the Ethiopians and Americans heading into the 10K.

Coming in with a surprising surge around the five mile mark was Brittany Charboneau (USA) who led with an average pace of 6:03 per mile and was closely followed by Keitany and Kieffer. But it was still anyone’s race at this point, as all women remained close together behind Charboneau, Tusa and Daska. Although a favorite to win this year, Vivian Cheruiyot looked trapped in the back of the pack, possibly holding back to make her move.

Looking confident, Linden pulled ahead at the 15K mark with a time of 18:03 putting a sizeable distance between her and the pack. Keitany and Cheruyiot chased Linden closely while Huddle, Flanagan and Gudeta ran in stride behind the top three. Mile 11 saw Linden falling back to lineup with Flanagan and Cheruiyot while Gudeta and Tusa took over the first and second places. As the runners came through the 20K point, Daska, Tusa and Gudeta held onto their leads with Flanagan taking a quick third place at the halfway point but then falling back. Although leading a few miles back, Linden ultimately lost contact with the lead pack at this point.

Gudeta, Tusa and Keitany broke off around mile 14 and put an around 11 second gap in front of the pack; all three looked strong off the Queensboro Bridge. Behind them, Cheruiyot, Huddle, Daska and Flanagan were still in the game at mile 16, even with their 30 second gap behind the lead threesome. At this pace, the top three were competing with men’s times.

With only 6.2 more miles to go, this was Keitany’s race, with almost a minute between her and Tusa. For the Americans, Flanagan led the race in fifth place at the 20 mile mark, almost 1:40 behind Keitany. At 21 miles, Cheruiyot made her way into third place followed by Flanagan and Huddle, and remained there through mile 22.

Heading into the last 2.6 miles, Keitany was still in the lead with 2:34 ahead of Tusa and Flanagan moved into third place while beginning to close in on Tusa. In the last mile, Keitany kept her lead and broke through the tape and was followed by Cheruiyot and Flanagan. Securing a new PR, Flangan’s finish proved she’s still a fierce competitor with her third place time of 2:26.22.

Three other American women joined the top 10 with Huddle finishing in fourth (2:26.44), Linden in sixth (2:7.51) and Kieffer in seventh (2:28.12).

Professional Wheelchair Field

Starting off the event at 8:30 a.m. EST, the professional wheelchair division kicked off in Staten Island. American Paralympian Tatyana McFadden led with an average pace of 4:02 at the 10K mark. A couple of seconds behind her was Manuel Schar (SUI) with a 4:04 average pace and Lihong Zou (CHN) staying close by in an average pace of 4:05. With a time of 50:00 across the 20K mark, McFadden was awarded eight Abbott World Marathon Majors bonus points.

The three women stayed in front at the halfway point with McFadden holding onto their first place spot all the way until the finish when Schar broke the tape in 1:50.27 to beat out second place finisher McFadden (1:50.48). China’s Zou completed the podium with an official time of 1:56.14.

Breezing through the first 10K, American Paralympian Daniel Romanchuk was leading with a 3:24 average pace followed by Marcel Hug and Davide Weir both finding their strides at 3:25. At 15K, the top three men stayed together with an average pace of 3:25. With his lead at the 20K point, Romanchuk’s time of 42:55 secured him the Abbott World Marathon Majors extra eight bonus points.

Halfway done with the race, Weir, Romanchuk and Hug held onto their lead putting about three to four seconds ahead of their competitors. This continued on until the finish when Romanchuk raced through the finish line. Last year’s winner, Hug came in at 1:36.22 with Weir finishing in third in 1:36.23.

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