Jep­kos­gei wins NYC in 1st marathon, Kam­woror takes men’s

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - SPORTS - AP Sports Writer

By JAKE SEINER

NEW YORK >> Joy­ci­line Jep­kos­gei ar­rived in New York with a mod­est goal for her first marathon ever.

“My fo­cus was to fin­ish the race,” she said, a gold medal hang­ing around her neck. Not bad for a novice. Jep­kos­gei up­set four-time cham­pion Mary Kei­tany to win the New York City Marathon on Sun­day with a his­toric de­but seven sec­onds off the course record.

Ge­of­frey Kam­woror of Kenya won the men’s event for the se­cond time in three years. He pounced when de­fend­ing cham­pion Lelisa De­sisa dropped out af­ter seven miles fol­low­ing a gru­el­ing vic­tory at the swel­ter­ing world cham­pi­onships last month.

Af­ter pulling away from Kenyan coun­try­mate Kei­tany with about three miles left, Jep­kos­gei crossed the fin­ish in Cen­tral Park in 2 hours, 22 min­utes and 38 sec­onds, the se­cond-best run in course his­tory.

“I didn’t ac­tu­ally know that I can win,” she said. “But I was try­ing my best to do it and to make it and to fin­ish strong.”

The 25-year-old Jep­kos­gei holds the world record in the half-marathon but had never run a 26.2-mile race be­fore. She looked pained climb­ing the fi­nal hill but strode con­fi­dently over the fin­ish line.

It was too much for Kei­tany, a 37-year-old who col­lapsed af­ter fin­ish­ing 53 sec­onds later. She had won four of the pre­vi­ous five NYC

Marathons.

“Some­times a race is a race,” Kei­tany said. “Any­thing can hap­pen.”

Jep­kos­gei is the youngest New York win­ner since 25-year-old Mar­garet Okayo in 2001. She also won the New York City Half-Marathon in March and is the first run­ner to win both events.

Kam­woror made it a Kenyan sweep mo­ments later with a fi­nal time of 2:08:13 on the course that tra­verses through the city’s five bor­oughs.

He kicked away from coun­try­man Al­bert Korir in the 24th mile. Korir fin­ished se­cond, and Ethiopian nonelite run­ner Girma Bekele Ge­bre was third.

De­sisa, who is from Ethiopia, was in 17th place at the seven-mile mark be­fore leav­ing with pain in one of his ham­strings. He was at­tempt­ing to de­fend his ti­tle 29 days af­ter win­ning worlds in Doha, Qatar, in boil­ing con­di­tions he de­scribed this week as “dan­ger­ous.” With a tem­per­a­ture of 84 de­grees F (29 de­grees C) for the mid­night start, 18 of 73 men didn’t fin­ish that race.

Sun­day’s run started at an ideal 45 de­grees F (7 de­grees C).

The 26-year-old Kam­woror fin­ished third last year af­ter win­ning in 2017. He was greeted at the fin­ish line by men­tor and train­ing part­ner Eliud Kip­choge, who com­pleted the first sub-2 hour marathon last month — a feat ac­com­plished un­der con­di­tions so tightly con­trolled it didn’t qual­ify for the record books.

“I didn’t want to dis­ap­point him,” Kam­woror said. “That gave me a lot of mo­ti­va­tion. He in­spired me to win that race.”

Kam­woror, also the world record holder in the half­marathon, is the 10th mul­ti­time win­ner in New York.

He was fol­lowed closely by Ge­bre, a for­mer New York res­i­dent who re­turned to Ethiopia re­cently to train at al­ti­tude. He shaved about five min­utes off his per­sonal best to fin­ish in 2:08:38.

The 26-year-old Ge­bre has no spon­sor and no agent. He’s hop­ing this break­through will change that.

“I would like some­one to ar­range some races for me,” he said through a trans­la­tor.

Amer­i­can Desiree Lin­den set the pace for the women early and was the top U.S. fin­isher at sixth. The 2018 Bos­ton Marathon win­ner hasn’t de­cided whether she will go to the Olympic team tri­als in Atlanta on Feb. 29.

The 36-year-old wants to gauge her recovery be­fore de­cid­ing whether to pur­sue a third Olympics.

“Right now’s not the time, just based on how my calves and my feet feel,” Lin­den said jok­ingly.

Kel­lyn Tay­lor, an Amer­i­can putting her fire­fight­ing ca­reer on hold to pur­sue the Olympics, fin­ished sev­enth.

Sara Hall, an­other U.S. Olympic hope­ful who has taken on an un­usu­ally heavy race sched­ule, dropped out in mile 18 af­ter run­ning the Ber­lin Marathon on Sept. 29.

Jared Ward was the top Amer­i­can fin­isher among the men at sixth place. He hoped the hilly New York ter­rain would pre­pare him for the rolling course in Atlanta.

“I hope that does set me up well,” he said. “I think I have some con­fi­dence.”

RICHARD DREW - THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

New York City Marathon women’s win­ner Joy­ci­line Jep­kos­gei, cen­ter, of Kenya, is flanked by se­cond fin­isher and coun­try mate Mary Kei­tany, left, and third fin­isher Ruti Aga, of Ethiopia, as they pose for pho­tos in New York’s Cen­tral Park, Sun­day, Nov. 3, 2019.

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