By Chris Lotsbom, @ChrisLotsbom
(c) 2013 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
November 3, 2013
NEW YORK (03-Nov) — For the third time in race history, Kenya swept both the men’s and women’s titles here at the 43rd running of the ING New York City Marathon. Priscah Jeptoo came from far behind to earn the women’s title in [2:25:07], securing the 2012/2013 World Marathon Majors title in the process, while Geoffrey Mutai successfully defended his men’s crown in [2:08:24].
Men’s recap below. Women’s recap here.
MUTAI CRUISES IN FINAL MILES, RETAINS CROWN
In the final ten kilometers of today’s ING New York City Marathon, Geoffrey Mutai was a man among boys. After running within a pack for most of the race, Mutai surged in the 22nd mile, creating enough separation to win his second title in three years. Breaking the tape in [2:08:24], Mutai became the sixth man in race history to successfully defend his crown.
“For me to defend my title, I think it has very many meanings,” said Mutai, 32.
Through halfway in [1:05:06], nearly all of the pre-race favorites were still in the picture. Within a pack of 14 were Mutai, Virgin London Marathon champion Tsegaye Kebede, Olympic and World Championships Marathon gold medalist Stephen Kiprotich, and 2012 Boston Marathon victor Wesley Korir.
Kilometer by kilometer a majority of the group would remain together, passing over the Queensboro Bridge and turning onto First Avenue. It was in the 20th mile when the race would really develop.
With roughly ten kilometers remaining, Mutai put his head down, leaned forward, and surged. Only Stanley Biwott would stay on the course record holder’s shoulder, a step behind to his left.
Mutai’s decision to go came down to the weather.
“I think that was a good area because there was not so much wind,” he told reporters. At the start, a steady wind of 17 milers per hour was recorded. “So when I was deciding to go, I was feeling okay, the wind was not there. For me, I was not looking to say I’ve tried to leave anyone, but I was focusing at the end.”
Racing along Fifth Avenue with just over five kilometers to go, Mutai would continue to push. Eventually, Biwott faded.
“When I start moving, I don’t care if you come or if you stay back because I say, if you come, you come and we go together, or leave me and go,” Mutai said. “So for me, I am focused. I don’t look back. I’m only going to [go] my way.”
By the time the finish was in sight, Mutai had built up a large cushion. Breaking the tape in [2:08:24], the father of two was overjoyed. Mutai said the win was extra special considering today is his manager Gerard Van de Veen’s birthday.
“He told me I want one thing only, a present for you, and that present is to win,” Mutai said. “I tell him winning is not easy. First of all, to win and 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 that I can, but even I was not believing that I can finish like that. So actually, it says a lot for me to defend my title.”
Behind Mutai, things got very interesting. Though Biwott had gone with Mutai along Fifth Avenue, the move proved costly. He would fade from second to fifth in the final miles.
Moving up in the field was Kebede. The tiny Ethiopian, who was in fifth at mile 23, managed to pass Julius Arile, Biwott, and South African Lusapho April to finish second in [2:09:16], securing the 2012-2013 World Marathon Majors title and a $500,000 bonus.
“You know, it is not easy to win World Marathon Majors,” said Kebede. “This is my dream. You know, I don’t know… I’m very happy. I’m glad to get to this point.”
April placed third, the highest South African finish since 2007.
Today proved to be a tough one for Uganda’s Kiprotich, racing his third marathon of the year. After being among the leaders through 20 miles, the 24-year-old would fade to 12th in [2:13:05]. One place behind came top American Ryan Vail in [2:13:23], followed by Colorado’s Jeffrey Eggleston, 14th in [2:16:35].
The 2009 champion here, Meb Keflezighi of San Diego, Calif., had a rough run. He stopped for several minutes with painful quadriceps muscles on the Willis Avenue Bridge, before restarting and eventually finishing 20th. He held the hand of a local runner, Michael Cassidy, as he crossed the finish line in [2:23:47].
“It wasn’t my day but sometimes it happens,” Keflezighi said. “I’m satisfied that I finished.”
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