November 3, 2013
New York, NY – Well after 628 days, another New York City Marathon is in the books. Here are our thoughts.
1) Geoffrey Mutai is incredibly good.
Given the weather forecast of a stiff 15mph headwind, we didn’t expect the times to be fast today and said we’d very surprised if anyone broke 2:09 and said it wouldn’t totally shock us if no one broke 2:10.
Well only one man broke 2:09 (and only three total 2:10) and that was Geoffrey Mutai, who won in 2:08:24, and has shown the last three years he’s super human when he’s on. Here are the last 4 marathons he’s finished (ignoring a DNF in Boston 2012 and London 2013):
2:03:02 win and course record (fastest time in history) at Boston 2011
2:05:06 win and course record in New York 2011
2:04:15 win in Berlin 2012
2:08:24 win in New York 2013
2) Don’t Let the 2:08 Time Deceive You, Mutai’s Win Was Very Impressive
Given the conditions, Mutai’s 2:08:24 win today might be on par with his 2:05:06 course record in 2011.
Mutai himself said defending or the conditions weren’t easy.
“First of all, to win is easy, but to defend your title is not easy. So even today, as you see the course today, the weather today, it–was not easy. Even for me, I try all what I can, but even if I was not believing that I can finish like that,” said Mutai.
Ryan Vail of the USA said, “It was incredibly windy.”
We asked LetsRun.com’s stat/wind expert John Kellogg (JK) for a comment about Mutai after the race and he said, “Well if it was actually as windy as they predicted, his 2:08 today isn’t that far off the 2:05 win two years ago,” said Kellogg . “Man is he good, he’s so good he’s almost making me look bad for my pre-race comments about what I thought the winning time would be.”
3) Geoffrey Mutai Says It Makes Sense His Group is Dominating Marathons LRC asked Mutai what his training group does differently than other training groups. This fall, Wilson Kipsang in his group has set the world record, Dennis Kimetto won in Chicago in a course record, and Geoffrey won here. Mutai said his group doesn’t do anything different, but that it makes since if one person in the group does well, then there is a high chance they all do well as they are doing similar training. He said, “We don’t say that this is only way to win. But when we train, you see that we train together. So when one wins, you normally know that everyone is near there.” He pointed out that sometimes the group doesn’t get it right (this spring Kipsang was 5th in London and Mutai dropped out) and there is some luck involved.
4) Tsegaye Kebede rightfully was the happiest second place finisher we’ve ever seen.
In the end, Kebede didn’t even need to run New York at all to win the 2012-13 $500,000 World Marathon Majors title as World and Olympic champion Stephen Kiprotich didn’t earn any World Marathon Major points in finishing 12th today.
But Kebede won the $500,000 in style by finishing second in 2:09:16. As he entered the final 50 yards of the race, he took off his black cap and twirled it in his fingers, celebrating a much-deserved jackpot considering he’s twice previously finished second in the series and earned $0 in the process.
Coming into the race, there were lots of questions about what Kebede would or woudn’t do if the pace went out fast but he showed today why pre-race he wasn’t worried about that at all. Kebede knows his body very well and almost always maximizes what he’s got on a given day. He never makes rash moves that results in a blow up.
The lead pack of 8 broke up just before mile 21, and then Kebede found himself in just fifth by mile 23 but at the finish line Kebede was second.Well done, Tsegaye. Not only is he $500,000 richer, but he’s now set two records.
i) He’s now has 10 career top 3 finishes at a World Marathon Major – tying Martin Lel with the most ever.
ii) At just age 27, he now has 14 sub career 2:10 marathons – the most in history (tied with Jaouad Gharib). And not included in that list is the 2:10:00 that got him bronze in 2008).
5) American Ryan Vail has a lot to be proud about.
The American, who in his two previous marathons had run 2:12:43 and 2:11:45, said coming into today’s race that if he was running on a flat course he was probably ready for another minute plus pb.
Well, after seeing him run 2:13:23 to finish as the top American, we certainly have to agree with him. Down the road, he’s got a real good shot to move into that elusive sub-2:10 club, something that has only been done by 16 Americans.
To finish within five minutes of a 2:03:02 guy like Mutai is quite an accomplishment. Plus everything didn’t go perfectly. You can watch our post-race interview with Vail on the right but he only got two of seven aid station bottles the whole race as someone else was taking his drinks.
6) Stanley Biwott is a big talent but he needs to remember a marathon is 26.2 miles, no 23.
At London in the spring, Biwott made a bid for glory and led as late as 35km but only ended up eighth. Tonight, he led at mile 22 but ended up only fifth.
Eventually, he’ll breakthrough with at least a top three finish but needs to be a bit more patient.
7) The biggest breakthroughs came from Kenya’s Julius Arile.
Coming into the race, Kenya’s 30-year old Julius Arile (also known as Julius Lomerinyang) was just a 2:12:13 marathoner who had run six career marathons, and three of them were over 2:15. His claim to fame besides having run 60:31 for 13.1 in 2010 was either being fifth in Honolulu or sixth in Prague last year. Now he’s run 2:10:03 in windy conditions and finished fourth in New York. A big breakthrough.
South Africa’s Lusapho April wasn’t bad at age 31 himself. April finished third in 2:09:45 and did a great celebration afterwards. He came in with a few more credentials though as he was the winner over Hannover in 2:08:32 in May. April afterwards spoke of friend of LRC and former NYC champion Hendrick Ramaala of South Africa, “I’m very happy to putmy country on the map and to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Hendrik Ramaala. “
8) Not a good day time wise for Meb, but he shined as usual after the race, and surprising struggles by Jason Hartmann and Martin Lel.
Given Meb’s injury. It wasn’t a surprise that he ended up just
20th 23rd in 2:23:47, but it was fun/exciting to see him up with the leaders and even in the lead early on.
Afterwards (you can watch our interview with Meb on the right), Meb said he thought his body would give out eventually given his lack of training but there was no chance he’d not finish:
For me, today wasn’t about me. I could not go after 19.3 miles. It (my body) shut down and I could not go anymore. I stopped, I took a three minute break, walked it off and I said, ‘You know I’m doing for Boston and for what happened and I’m doing it for America.
I never run to be the top American. I just wanted to get to the finish.
When people cheer your name and say Go USA, Go Meb, you are our hero. I cried when the national anthem played, I cried when people yelled my name and said I was their hero. I cried when I finished about the end. It’s not about me. It would have been easy to just stop but that’s not my best.
As Meb indicated, he had to stop for three minutes after mile 19 so mile 20 took 10:12 for him to finish. Then he ran at something close to six minute pace on the way home. Do we really care what he finished in? What a class act. Plus he did have the lead early for a bit.
The more surprising struggles came from the steady Lel and Hartmann who ended up DNFs. Lel ran 1:31:18 for 18 miles (5:04 pace) before faltering . Hartmann made it 19 miles in 1:37:54 (that’s 5:08 pace) and 21 in 1:59:54 before faltering.
9) Sportsmanship on the Course
Just before Mutai puled away from Biwott they were running side by side and they shared a drink bottle while conversing. After the race, Mutai said Biwott missed his bottle and asked Mutai for some water. Mutai told him it wasn’t water, but Biwott said he wanted it anyway and Mutai gave his bottle to Mutai. It was a cool little moment in the sport. Runners may be rivals, but they are united in their battle against the marathon distance.
10) Leader’s mile by mile splits were as follows:
|14||447||Meb starting to get dropped (4 seconds back)|
|18||443||pack of 9|
|19||445||pack of 8 (Korir dropped)|
|21||447||Mutai and Biwott ahead|
|23||440||Biwott to the lead|