2017 win­ners re­turn to NYC to de­fend marathon ti­tles

The Tribune (SLO) (Sunday) - - Sports - BY MELISSA MUR­PHY

All four win­ners of the 2017 NYC Marathon re­turn to de­fend their ti­tles on Sun­day.

Amer­i­can Sha­lane Flana­gan and Kenyan Ge­of­frey Kam­woror will try to re­peat, along with the Swiss pair of Manuela Schar and Mar­cel Hug in the wheel­chair divi­sion.

“To be com­ing back as the de­fend­ing cham­pion, it’s quite an honor and lit­er­ally a dream come true,” said Flana­gan, the first U.S. woman to win the NYC Marathon since Miki Gor­man in 1977.

Flana­gan won in 2 hours, 26 min­utes, 53 sec­onds, beat­ing Mary Kei­tany of Kenya.

The 37-year-old Flana­gan says she’s “def­i­nitely no­ticed my age a lit­tle bit more” and takes the nec­es­sary re­cov­ery days. “But there’s a great coun­try song I’ve been kind of chant­ing to my­self. ‘I’m not as good as I once was, but I’m as good once as I ever was.’ ”

It’s def­i­nitely dif­fi­cult to re­peat as the NYC Marathon cham­pion.

“It hap­pens, but I think the pres­sure is hard and the ex­pec­ta­tions go­ing into train­ing – you’re try­ing to do things bet­ter and faster,” said Amer­i­can Deena Kas­tor, who won the 2005 Chicago Marathon and 2006 Lon­don Marathon.

Grete Waitz won nine times in New York, in­clud­ing back-to-back runs from 1978-80 and 198286 be­fore her fi­nal vic­tory in 1988.

De­siree Lin­den looks to fol­low up her Bos­ton Marathon ti­tle – the first Amer­i­can woman to break the tape since 1985 – with a win on Sun­day. She fin­ished fifth here in 2014.

“Putting in more miles per week than self­ies taken, it’s a nice feel­ing to be back to the grind and just fo­cus­ing on run­ning,” Lin­den said. “The train­ing has been re­ally chal­leng­ing, hope­fully it will take me to a new level.”

SETH WENIG AP file photo

Kenya’s Ge­of­frey Kam­woror will re­turn Sun­day to de­fend his New York City Marathon crown.

SETH WENIG AP

Sha­lane Flana­gan, who be­came the first U.S. woman to win the NYC Marathon since 1977, will de­fend her ti­tle.

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