Kenya’s Keitany, Eritrea’s Ghebreslassie win NYC Marathon

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Quite a run at the New York City Marathon for Mary Keitany. Pretty swift de­but for Ghir­may Ghebreslassie, too.

Keitany won the race for the third straight time on Sun­day, pulling away with more than 10 miles to go and breez­ing home to the fin­ish line in Cen­tral Park.

“Alone in the streets,” the 34year-old Kenyan said.

Ex­cept for the cheer­ing fans, of course, who packed the course to root on the record-set­ting 52,049 run­ners from 120 na­tions as they wound through all five of the city’s bor­oughs.

At 20, Ghebreslassie be­came the youngest men’s win­ner in this event. Al­berto Salazar (1980) and Tom Flem­ing (1973) won as 22year-olds.

Ghebreslassie was the first na­tive of Eritrea to win the New York marathon. He fin­ished his de­but in 2:07:51. “I’m re­ally proud of it,” he said. Keitany de­fended her ti­tle in 2 hours, 24 min­utes, 26 sec­onds, one sec­ond be­hind her time last year. She beat coun­try­woman Sally Kipyego by nearly four min­utes, and be­came the first woman to win this race three times in a row since Grete Waitz took five straight from 1982-86.

Keitany made her move a lot ear­lier than last year, when she dis­tanced her­self from the field at the 21st mile.

This time, when she ex­ited the Queens­boro Bridge and en­tered Man­hat­tan, the only peo­ple near Keitany were a po­lice es­cort and the fans.

“I was not imag­in­ing of any time,” she said. “I just went early.”

Keitany pulled away af­ter 15 miles and was the first woman to win by more than 3 1/2 min­utes since Waitz fin­ished 3:52 ahead of Patti Cata­lano in 1980.

“Those two last miles can be dif­fi­cult,” said Kipyego, who moved into sec­ond in the 24th mile.

“I just kept telling my­self to look for­ward, don’t worry about who’s be­hind you, and keep your head down and try to stay in rhythm,” she said.

Molly Hud­dle of the United States was third in 2:28:13 in her marathon de­but.

Keitany was two sec­onds ahead through the 14th mile, then was 20 sec­onds in front through the 15mile mark as the race crossed into Man­hat­tan.

Keitany kept up her pace run­ning on First Av­enue and af­ter 20 miles led by more than two min­utes.

Af­ter head­ing down Fifth Av­enue, she en­tered Cen­tral Park at Colum­bus Cir­cle and coasted home, short of the women’s record of 2:22:31 by Kenya’s Mar­garet Okayo in 2003.

Keitany crossed the fin­ish line and hugged her two chil­dren and her fam­ily.

“I was happy for them to be in New York,” she said.

Hud­dle fin­ished in the top three af­ter set­ting an Amer­i­can record at the 10,000 me­ters in the Rio Olympics.

For most of the course, the men’s field was a three-man race be­tween Ghebreslassie, Kenya’s Lu­cas Rotich and Ethiopia’s Lelisa De­sisa.

By mile 20, Ghebreslassie grad­u­ally be­gan pulling away. He beat Rotich by 62 sec­onds and Abdi Ab­di­rah­man was third in 2:11:23.

De­fend­ing cham­pion Stan­ley Bi­wott of Kenya with­drew at the 10mile mark with a right calf in­jury. He also dropped out in the Rio Olympics af­ter get­ting sick.

De­sisa, who was the run­ner-up in New York in 2014 and a twotime Bos­ton Marathon win­ner, dropped out at the 22nd mile.

Tatyana Mc­Fad­den took the women’s wheel­chair race, keep­ing up her long win­ning streak. The 27-year-old fin­ished in 1:47:43 and swept the Lon­don, Bos­ton, Chicago and New York events for the fourth straight year, giv­ing her 17 straight vic­to­ries over­all in ma­jor marathons.

Mc­Fad­den won six medals at the Rio Par­a­lympic Games.

Mar­cel Hug of Switzer­land won for the sec­ond year in a row in the men’s wheel­chair divi­sion. He edged Aus­tralia’s Kurt Fearn­ley by sixth-tenths of a sec­ond, re­peat­ing their close fin­ish at last month’s Chicago marathon.

Men’s race win­ner Ghir­may Ghebreslassie, of Eritrea, and women’s race win­ner Mary Keitany, of Kenya

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