NEW YORK (NWN) — New York asked for a return story for its 50th marathon, and Albert Korir delivered.
And for a city whose sports fans don’t accept second best, Pérez Jepchirchir came up with a memorable first.
Korir and Jepchirchir made a Kenyan sweep at the New York City Marathon on Sunday, winning the men’s race two years after Korir finished second and Jepchirchir becoming the only woman to take the Marathon Major in the fall after earning an Olympic gold medal.
The world’s second oldest marathon major returns after being canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. In a city where more than 34,000 people have died from COVID-19, organizers expect an uplifting celebration similar to the marathon held two months after the 9/11 attacks.
Streets emptied 21 months ago, except for ambulances rushing to aid a city paralyzed by the coronavirus – and later filled with anguish and despair in the days following the killing of George Floyd – were simply joyous on Sunday as the city’s About 30,000 runners made their way through five. Town
Brooklynites cheered for the early rising wheelchair competitors between sips of coffee. The crowd on Manhattan’s First Avenue greeted the runners-up of the Queensboro Bridge. Cowbell-swinging supporters wave to runners in the final stretch in the Bronx.
He clapped and shouted for the elite and every runner.
The 2017 champion, Shalane Flanagan, ran her sixth marathon major in six weeks – the first time possible since the Boston, London and Tokyo marathons were pushed from spring to fall by the pandemic. The 40-year-old American is calling her journey Project Eclipse because of how rare the opportunity was.
Also on the course: Dr. Jose Alfredo Jiménez Gaxiola, a Mexican ICU doctor who worked through the pandemic and survived his battle with COVID-19; Kelly Roe Kenny from New Jersey, California, a 9/11 survivor who first ran in memory of co-workers killed in 2001; and Chris Nikic, the first athlete with Down syndrome to complete a full Ironman triathlon.
Molly Seidel finished fourth in her first race since taking bronze at the Tokyo Games, becoming the first American woman since Deena Kastor in 2004 to earn an Olympic medal.
She broke two ribs about a month ago, but she was able to come back to power. He declined to explain how he got hurt.
“Every build up has challenges,” Seidel said. “It was an interesting one.”
In the men’s pro race, Korir overtook Mohamed El Arabi of Morocco and Iob Faniel of Italy around the 18th mile and quickly made any drama. He won in 2 hours 8 minutes 22 seconds.
“It was not an easy race,” Korir said. “But I had fun.”
It was Korir’s first win in one of the World Marathon Majors and his first on any podium since winning the Ottawa Race Weekend Marathon in 2019. The 27-year-old Korir finished second in 2019 by 23 seconds behind Geoffrey Kamwor and didn’t. Race again until this June due to the pandemic.
El Arabi finished an impossible second at the Tokyo Olympics after finishing 11th. Faniel was at number three.
Jepchirchir stood side by side with countrymen Viola Cheptu and Ethiopia’s Ababel Yeshaneh from the time they entered the Bronx until they reached the entrance to Central Park.
Moments after swallowing two energy gel packets, Jepchirchir turned on the jet and pulled away, winning in 2:22:39.
“It’s not easy,” she said of the New York curriculum. “Towards the finishing line, I felt something I’d never felt before I finished the marathon.”
28-year-old Jepchirchir won gold at the Tokyo Olympic Marathon in August and came back with a short recovery to win a race once dominated by her hero Mary Kettney, a four-time winner in New York , who had recently retired from the sport.
Cheptu finished second on his marathon debut and was quickly found by his brother, Bernard Lagat, who was broadcasting the race on ESPN. Isaneh was in third place.
Switzerland’s Marcel Haug won the men’s wheelchair race for the fourth time, finishing more than 6 1/2 minutes ahead of the next racer for his first title since 2017. Australia’s Madison De Rosario defeated defending champion Tatyana McFadden to win the women’s wheelchair event. and Manuela Schaar for his first Big Apple win.
Participants had to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours of race day. Runners registered for the 2020 race were wiped out, given the option of a full refund or entry into the 2021, ’22 or ’23 races.
The non-competitive arena also had its share of well-known athletes, including US women’s national football team alumni Abby Wambach, Lauren Holiday, Kate Markgraf, and Leslie Osborne. Former New York Giants runner back Tiki Barber ran for the seventh time.
Tony Award-winning actress Kelly O’Hara was set to perform the national anthem before testing her lungs on the course, while two members of British rock band Mumford & Sons were also signed up to run. Entrants also included “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” contestants Matt James, Tyler Cameron, Tesia Adams and Zack Clark.
Follow Jake Sener: https://twitter.com/Jake_Seiner
More NWN Sports: https://apnews.com/hub/sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports