By Chris Lotsbom, @ChrisLotsbom
(c) 2013 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
November 4, 2013
NEW YORK — The last 24 hours have been hectic yet happy for ING New York City Marathon winners Geoffrey Mutai and Priscah Jeptoo. After crossing the Central Park finish line on Sunday in 2:08:24 and 2:25:07, respectively, the Kenyan tandem have been on the go, traveling from one event to another. A day after taking the laurel wreaths, both recounted their time in the city at a press conference today.
“It is an incredible job that we did yesterday and I am very happy and that is the day I will not forget for the rest of my life,” said Jeptoo, 29.
Earning the title ‘New York City Marathon Champion’ comes with many responsibilities and opportunities. After receiving their awards and completing press conferences yesterday, both Mutai and Jeptoo were honorary guests at the New York Road Runners Night of Champions, an event at the world famous The Plaza hotel that serves as a fundraiser for the NYRR’s Youth Programs.
After a night’s sleep, the pair were up early this morning to ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange. They then did the traditional champions’ press conference, then had lunch with New York Road Runners president and CEO Mary Wittenberg. In the afternoon, they posed for photographs on the observation deck of the Empire State Building.
Speaking to the media this morning, both were once again expressing how proud they were to be champions of the race’s 43rd edition. Jeptoo not only won the race, but also the 2012/2013 World Marathon Majors series.
“To win World Marathon Major title means a lot to me because it is a great achievement. Also it has given me encouragement that I train well, and also shows that I can also run a faster race to improve my time in the future,” said the 2012 Olympic silver medalist.
Asked how he has celebrated his second title in three years here, Mutai said he was waiting.
“I think I have not yet, but I’m still so happy again,” he said. “I know I will go and celebrate. I’m still fixing my pain. After pain, I know I will [celebrate].”
Mutai noted that Sunday’s race was the toughest he has ever run, largely in part due to the fierce winds all along the course. At the start on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, a steady wind of 17 miles per hour was recorded.
“I try even to lead or to push it, I tried to continue in the front, but no one was coming. Everyone was waiting me to lead. When I go back, everyone is waiting,” he recalled. “So it was all the wind, it was facing me because no one was allowing each other to come to lead. So the wind was tough. I tried to go, but after your step, you lose your step again. It was tough. Actually, I’ve never won a race as tough as this.”
on Sunday, Mutai noted he believes winning for a second time in New York City will elevate his status in Kenya.
“For me, back where I’m from everyone knows to win this course or to repeat again twice, it’s not easy. For me, it’s a glory,” he said. “Let’s say a big marathon like this and you repeat twice, it means how you are keeping yourself. So I think I’m more famous now in Kenya.”
Jeptoo also noted how tough her race was, working alone to make up a three minute and 23 second gap at halfway. Though early leader Buzunesh Deba was out of sight for most of the race, Jeptoo was confident in her abilities to catch the Bronx resident.
“I was really prepared mentally for this race, and also I have trained well. When I was coming, I was coming for the win,” she said. “From 35 [kilometers] to the finishing line, I know myself that I am strong and I’m moving because the way I’m training myself. I trained to run the last part well.”
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At today’s news conference, the New York Road Runners announced that 50,304 athletes finished the 2013 ING New York City Marathon, making it the largest marathon in history. Also, New York’s own Julissa Sarabia became the one millionth starter in race history.
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