Molly Huddle Wins 2016 NYC Half In Controversial Fashion (67:41 CR), Stephen Sambu Rolls In 61:16

March 20, 2016

We know many of you were up late watching the 2016 World Indoors Track and Field Championships on the West Coast and likely didn’t get up to watch the 2016 United Airlines NYC Half this morning. You missed a dandy of a race on the women’s side.

American Molly Huddle dominance on the roads continued as she won a true battle to the line with Joyce Chepkirui as both clocked 1:07:41 – a new course record. After looking at the photo finish, Huddle was given the nod by .08. Stephen Sambu had a more comfortable victory in the men’s race in 1:01:16.

The women’s finish was so close on the women’s side there is discussion on the message board as to whether Huddle should have been disqualified as her arms came out just before she hit the finish line as shown in the video (go the :36 mark and watch for about 30 seconds the best replay comes at the :55 second point) and photo below.

Video of Finish

Photo of the Finish

Article continues below player.

Messageboard poster “bike shed” is reporting that when Huddle was asked about the finish, Huddle said she was simply trying to get her body “across the line and not fall”:

Q. “Molly, your arm came out a little at thefinish line
as you leaned. Is that kind of an instinctive thing,
or were you trying to do whatever you could to
make sure you crossed first?”

MOLLY HUDDLE: “I kind of was just trying to get my
body across the line and not fall at the same time. So
that’s just — like I wasn’t even conscious of what my
arms were doing. Yeah, I just was trying to get there. I
was pretty tired.”

What do you think? Talk about the race on our world famous fan forum / messageboard: MB: Molly Huddle Interference? Should Huddle have been DQd for flailing her arms out at United Airlines NYC Half? 

Top 10 results and a press release from the NYRR appear below. Full results here.

Top 10 Women’s Results
1. Molly Huddle USA 1:07:41
2. Joyce Chepkirui KEN 1:07:41
3. Diane Nukuri BDI 1:09:41
4. Fionnuala McCormack IRL 1:10:44
5. Caroline Rotich KEN 1:10:45
6. Estaferahu Temesgen ETH 1:10:56
7. Alisha Williams USA 1:11:49
8. Beverly Ramos 1:12:09
9. Liz Costello USA 1:12:35
10. Neely Spence Gracey 1:13:17

Top 10 Women’s Results
1. Stepen Sambu KEN 1:01:16
2. Wilson Chebet KEN 1:01:35
3. Sam Chelanga USA 1:01:43
4. Juan Luis Barrios MEX 1:02:02
5. Diego Estrada MEX 1:02:15
6. Lusapho April 1:02:28
7. Byron Piedra 1:02:35
8. Zane Robertson NZL 1:02:37
9. Daniele Meucci ITA 1:03:35
10 Yusuke Nishiyama JPN 1:03:37

Press Release from the NYRR Road Runners

New York, March 20, 2016  – Three event records were broken on the streets of Manhattan at the 2016 United Airlines NYC Half on Sunday, March 20, in an event that featured 12 Olympians and 12 Paralympians.

Molly Huddle, an Elmira, NY, native, defended her United Airlines NYC Half title, beating Joyce Chepkirui (KEN) by eight hundredths of a second in a thrilling photo finish with a time of1:07:41.

“I knew once I hit those final 150 meters, I just needed to sprint,” Huddle said. “I kind of was just trying to get my body across the line and not fall at the same time.”

Chepkirui was second for the second consecutive year, finishing a stride behind Huddle.

In the men’s field, Kenyan Stephen Sambu took first place in 1:01:16, his first victory in the event after finishing second last year and third the year prior. Sambu was followed by runner-up and compatriot Wilson Chebet (KEN), who crossed the finish line 1:01:35, and Sam Chelanga (USA), who clocked in at 1:01:43.

Seven-time Paralympic medalist Ernst Van Dyk (RSA) and 11-time Paralympic medalist Tatyana McFadden (USA) smashed the course records in the men’s and women’s wheelchair races, respectively.

Van Dyk captured the top prize in 47:37 and McFadden took her title in 52:25.

“This year was really important for the (United Airlines NYC) Half to kind of set me up really nicely for Boston and really nicely for the rest of the season,” McFadden said.

This was the 11th running of the United Airlines NYC Half – the first of five events in the NYRR Five-Borough Series. The professional athlete prize purse totals $115,000. The course took runners through a tour of Manhattan–through Central Park, Times Square, and down the West Side Highway to the finish in the financial district. Unofficially, there were 20,155 finishers who completed the course.

The NYRR Times Square Kids’ Run at the United Airlines NYC Half featured 1,000 kids ages 7-18 who competed in a 1500-meter out-and-back road race on Seventh Avenue that started and ended in Times Square. The race included a youth wheelchair heat for the first time.

2016 United Airlines NYC Half

Top five male finishers:

  1. Stephen Sambu, 27, KEN                      1:01:16
  2. Wilson Chebet, 30, KEN                         1:01:35
  3. Sam Chelanga, 31, USA                          1:01:43
  4. Juan Luis Barrios, 32, MEX                     1:02:02
  5. Diego Estrada, 26, USA                           1:02:15

Top five female finishers:

  1. Molly Huddle, 31, USA                            1:07:41*
  2. Joyce Chepkirui, 27, KEN                        1:07:41
  3. Diane Nukuri, 31, BDI                            1:09:41
  4. Fionnuala McCormack, 31, IRL             1:10:44
  5. Caroline Rotich, 31, KEN                         1:10:45

*Event record

Top three men’s wheelchair division finishers:

  1. Ernst Van Dyk, 42, RSA                            47:37*
  2. Aaron Pike, 29, USA                                  48:47
  3.    Brian Siemann, 26, USA                           50:30

*Event record

Top three women’s wheelchair division finishers:

  1. Tatyana McFadden, 26, USA                          52:25*
  2. Manuela Schar, 31, SUI                                     53:10
  3.    Susannah Scaroni, 24, USA                              55:15

*Event record

Winners of NYRR Times Square Kids’ Run at 2016 United Airlines NYC Half

Wheelchair race: Miguel Jimenez (New Jersey)

High school boy: Juan Castro (Puerto Rico)

High school girl: Michelle Arellano (Manhattan)

Middle school boy: Azwad Sourav (Brooklyn)

Middle school girl: Aoife Kenny (Queens)

Elementary school boy: Jelani Johnson (Queens)

Elementary school girl: Sana Hussain (Queens)

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