2022 NYC Marathon Men’s Preview: Who Wins It & How Does Galen Rupp Do in NYC Debut?

By Jonathan Gault
November 3, 2022

Kenya can make history at the 2022 TCS New York City Marathon. If a Kenyan man crosses the finish line first in Central Park on Sunday, that will give Kenyan men a clean sweep of the 2022 World Marathon Marathon Majors.

Such a sweep has only been accomplished once before, in 2011, with Geoffrey Mutai sandwiching victories in Boston and New York around victories by fellow Kenyans in London (Emmanuel Mutai), Berlin (Patrick Makau), and Chicago (Moses Mosop). That was when the WMM only consisted of five races; no country has gone six-for-six since Tokyo was added in 2013. But with Eliud Kipchoge (Tokyo, Berlin), Evans Chebet (Boston), Amos Kipruto (London), and Benson Kipruto (Chicago) claiming the first five majors of 2022, Kenya has the chance to accomplish something unprecedented this weekend.

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The race comes at a fraught time for the East African distance running superpower, however, as Kenya is in the midst of a major doping problem, with 23 athletes already suspended in 2022. That includes recent World Marathon Majors winners such as Diana Kipyokei (2021 Boston) and Lawrence Cherono (2019 Boston and 2019 Chicago).

The men’s race in New York is lighter on Kenyans than usual. There are just two in the elite field, but they also happen to be the defending champions at two of America’s most prestigious marathons: Evans Chebet (Boston) and Albert Korir (New York). Other than those two, it’s a complete mix of nationalities in the men’s elite field as the top nine seeds hail from nine different countries. Included in that group is 2020 London champ Shura Kitata of Ethiopia (2:04:49 pb), South American record holder Daniel Do Nascimento of Brazil (2:04:51 pb), and Olympic silver medalist Abdi Nageeye of the Netherlands (2:04:56 pb).

The field of American contenders in New York runs incredibly deep. New York is the first race in history to feature five Americans with sub-2:09 personal bests: Galen Rupp (2:06:07, making his NYC debut), Leonard Korir (2:07:56), Scott Fauble (2:08:52), Abdi Abdirahman (2:08:56), and Marty Hehir (2:08:59). Only 14 Americans have ever broken 2:09; 36% of are in this race on Sunday.

Who will win? And who will finish as the top American? Let’s dig into the men’s elite field.

What: 2022 TCS New York City Marathon
When: Sunday, November 6. Women’s race starts at 8:40 a.m. ET, men’s race at 9:05 a.m. ET.
Where: New York, New York
How to watch: Live on ESPN2 starting at 8:30 a.m. ET (race will also be shown on ABC7 in New York).
*International TV/streaming information *Full elite men’s field

Elite field (sub-2:11/notables)

Name Country PB Note
Evans Chebet Kenya 2:03:00 Has won 4 of last 5 marathons, including ’20 Valencia & ’22 Boston
Shura Kitata Ethiopia 2:04:49 ’20 London champ was 2nd at ’18 NYC
Daniel Do Nascimento Brazil 2:04:51 2:04 pb for 3rd in Seoul in April, then 8th at Worlds in July
Abdi Nageeye Netherlands 2:04:56 Oly silver, then won Rotterdam in April but DNF at Worlds in July
Suguru Osako Japan 2:05:29 Said he would retire at 30 after finishing 6th at Olympics but now he’s back
Galen Rupp USA 2:06:07 Has battled injury & COVID in ’22; only 19th at Worlds
Tadesse Abraham Switzerland 2:06:38 Just turned 40 but has run pbs of 59:53/2:06:38 in ’22
Mohamed El Aaraby Morocco 2:06:55 2nd last year; 21st at Worlds
Olivier Irabaruta Burundi 2:07:13 PB at Zurich in April, 32nd at Worlds
Tetsuya Yoroizaka Japan 2:07:55 PB for 2nd at Beppu-Oita in Feb.
Leonard Korir USA 2:07:56 First marathon since 4th at Oly Trials in Feb. ’20
Albert Korir Kenya 2:08:03 2nd & 1st in last two NYC’s; 6th in Boston in April
Girma Bekele Gebre Ethiopia 2:08:23 Surprising 3rd in ’19 after starting with mass runners
Scott Fauble USA 2:08:52 Coming off PB to finish 7th in Boston
Abdi Abdirahman USA 2:08:56 Farewell marathon for 45-year-old 5-time Olympian
Marty Hehir USA 2:08:59 First marathon since winning Marathon Project in Dec. ’20
Daniele Meucci Italy 2:09:25 13th at Euros in August
Jared Ward USA 2:09:25 Top American in NYC in ’18 + ’19 but has struggled since
Reed Fischer USA 2:10:54 2:10 pb for 16th in Boston in April
Ben True USA 2:12:53 7th last year in debut
Shadrack Kipchirchir USA debut US XC champ has run 13:08/27:07 and 61:16 in NYC Half in March

The Favorite

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Evans Chebet has to be viewed as the man to beat in New York. At 2:03:00, he has, by far, the fastest personal best in the field (and #7 all-time). But it’s not just about his pb. Dating back to September 2019, Chebet has won four of his last five marathons: 2019 Buenos Aires, 2020 Lake Biwa, 2020 Valencia (against an absolutely loaded field), and 2022 Boston.

That most recent victory bears closer examination. Remember how dominant Chebet was coming off of Heartbreak Hill in April? He split a killer 13:55 from 35k to 40k to blow open the race and win Boston in 2:06:51, the third-fastest winning time in race history. The NYC finish in Central Park is more up-and-down than Boston (which is only down after Heartbreak) but that close represents the sort of skillset that should help Chebet in New York — and perhaps help him become the just the third man this century to win Boston and New York in the same year (Rodgers Rop did it in 2002 and Geoffrey Mutai won both in 2011).

One more thing: Chebet’s training group has had a pretty terrific fall. He trains with Amos Kipruto and Benson Kipruto, who won London and Chicago in October. A win for Chebet would give coach Claudio Berardelli‘s training group three major wins this fall and four overall in 2022.

If He Doesn’t Win…

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With his shuffling form and modest 2:08:03 pb, Albert Korir doesn’t seem like a guy you have to worry about, but his recent NYC results say differently: 2nd in 2019 and 1st in 2021. Korir’s win last year wasn’t one of the more impressive NYC victories on record — the field wasn’t super strong and the big names mostly underperformed. This year’s field is much deeper. Korir has run very well in New York before but he’ll have to run better than in 2019 or 2021 if he is to win again on Sunday.

Shura Kitata of Ethiopia is the #2 seed by pb and has the highest ceiling other than Chebet. He’s won a big-time marathon before (2020 London) and ran 2:06:01 for 2nd in New York in 2018 — the 3rd-fastest time ever in NYC. His last three marathons haven’t gone great — he dropped out of the Olympics and was 6th in London last year and 5th in Tokyo this year — but he also won the Ethiopian Olympic trials last year (a 35k race) so he shouldn’t be discounted. If he’s in shape, he’s as good as anyone in the field.

Abdi Nageeye could contend for the win. He was only 5th last year, but he’s run two exceptional marathons in the last two years, taking silver at the Olympics in August 2021 and winning Rotterdam in a pb of 2:04:56 in April 2022. He dropped out of his last marathon at the World Championships.

So that’s your “big four”: Chebet, Korir, Kitata, and Nageeye. One of those guys will likely win on Sunday, unless Galen Rupp can return to his pre-2022 form (we’ll get to him in a minute). There are four more guys who could contend for the podium but haven’t yet shown themselves to be capable of winning a major but could be major factors:

  • Daniel Do Nascimento, Brazil (2:04:51 pb): He ran a stunning 2:04:51 South American record in Seoul in April but that was only good for 3rd. In his three biggest marathons, he’s gone DNF (2021 Olympics), 9th (2021 Valencia), 8th (2022 Worlds). Ten years ago, a 2:04 pb would make you a serious contender at any marathon in the world, but supershoes have raised the bar.
  • Suguru Osako, Japan (2:05:29 pb): The former Japanese record holder planned to retire at age 30 after last year’s Olympics, where he finished 6th. His retirement didn’t last long, however, as he returned to run 61:05 at the Great North Run in September and will now suit up for his first NYC.
  • Tadesse Abraham, Switzerland (2:06:38 pb): Abraham, who was 7th at the 2016 Olympics and 5th in New York in 2017, has never made a WMM podium. But he’s also running faster than ever this year at age 40, running a 2:06:38 pb to win Zurich in April and 59:53 in the half in September.
  • Mohamed El Aaraby, Morocco (2:06:55 pb): El Aaraby was 2nd last year, but that also illustrates just how shallow last year’s field was. In three marathons in 2022, he’s finished 7th in Paris, 3rd at the World Military Championships, and 21st at Worlds.

Who wins the 2022 NYC Marathon?

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What to Expect from Galen Rupp in His NYC Debut

After running Chicago in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2021, Galen Rupp has finally decided to run the New York this fall — the marathon that his disgraced former coach Alberto Salazar won in 1980, 1981, and 1982. Rupp remains America’s biggest marathon star, and it’s a big deal that he’s running this race. Having him on the big stage on a race broadcast around the country on ESPN2 is overdue.

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The big question: which Rupp will we get on Sunday? The one who was a threat to win every marathon he started from 2016-21? Or the hobbled 36-year-old version we’ve seen so far in 2022?

This year has not been kind to Rupp. Battling a herniated disc and pinched nerve in his back, Rupp was only 7th at the US 15K championships on March 5 and dropped out of the NYC Half two weeks later. His training suffered, and then he got COVID in June. At Worlds in July, he struggled to a 19th-place finish in 2:09:38 running around his college stomping grounds in Eugene.

Rupp admitted after that race that it has been a rough year, but he also felt he was trending in the right direction.

“I am getting better, believe it or not,” Rupp said. “From a mechanical standpoint, my form has really come a long way just in the last couple months. I’m excited.”

That was 16 weeks ago. Rupp has been out of the spotlight since then, so there are no clues as to how his training is progressing (we’ll check in with him at the pre-race press conference on Thursday). But if all has gone smoothly, it’s not out of the question that Rupp could contend for the win on Sunday. We know he’ll be at the front — Galen Rupp is not the type of guy content to go out conservatively and let the field get away from him. And remember, he’s only a year removed from running 2:06 for 2nd in Chicago and has contended at majors in the past, taking 2nd in Boston in 2017 and winning Chicago later that year.

New York’s course means Rupp won’t have to run 2:03 or 2:04 — something he’s never come close to — in order to win. And the forecast (around 70 degrees at the finish) suits Rupp, who has always done well in the heat. A fit Rupp is dangerous.

But what if he’s not fit? Rupp was remarkably durable for the first decade of his career, but his body has begun to falter in recent years, first with the Haglund’s deformity that required Achilles surgery in 2019 and now with the back issues in 2022. That stuff tends to get worse, not better, with age. His run at Worlds showed that Rupp needs quality training to be competitive with the best in the world. If he hasn’t had that ahead of New York, he will struggle to be competitive.

(Update: We spoke to Rupp today in NYC – Galen Rupp Sounds Like a Guy Trying to Convince Himself He’s Ready to Go)

Where does Galen Rupp finish in New York?

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We also discussed Rupp’s chances on this week’s LetsRun.com Track Talk podcast. Video clip below.

If you want our full 2022 NYC Preview podcast that we’ll record after talking to the contenders in New York, join the LetsRun.com Supporters Club today. You get an exclusive podcast every week, savings on running shoes, and one of the softest running shirts in the business if you subscribe for a year. You can cancel at any time. Satisfaction guaranteed.

Can Any of These Guys Challenge Rupp for Top American?

If Rupp is at his best or close to it, he will finish as the top American on Sunday — just as he has in all 10 marathons he has finished. But if he has lost a step, there is a deep group of Americans ready to challenge him. It bears repeating: there are FIVE Americans in this race who have broken 2:09. That’s never happened before. Here’s a look at them all, plus a couple other notable entrants.

Leonard Korir (2:07:56 pb)
Age: 35

Korir ran the fastest debut marathon ever by an American in 2019 (2:07:56 in Amsterdam), then followed it up by finishing 4th at the Olympic Trials in 2020. He hasn’t run a marathon since.

His track results were poor last year (he was just 15th at the Olympic Trials in the 10k after making the previous three US teams) but he’s rebounded with some strong runs on the roads in 2022, finishing 2nd at the US champs in the 10k, 15k, and 20k, and winning the US titles in the half marathon and 25k. Korir was only five seconds behind Conner Mantz at the US 20k champs in September, and Mantz just ran 2:08:16 in Chicago.

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Scott Fauble (2:08:52 pb)
Age: 30

Fauble remains unsponsored despite finishing as the top American in Boston in April in a pb of 2:08:52 (his agent Josh Cox told LetsRun two companies have shown “a great deal of interest”). Fauble is as consistent as they come, with only one bad marathon in seven starts, and was a solid 7th in his prior NYC appearance in 2018. Expect another good one on Sunday.

Abdi Abdirahman (2:08:56 pb)
Age: 45

Okay, so Abdirahman’s personal best is 16 years old. New York will be his final professional marathon, and his most recent one went very poorly (2:19 in Boston last fall).

That said, Abdi is very familiar with New York — this will be his ninth time running the race — and, even at 45, you can’t totally count out the Black Cactus. This is a guy who made an Olympic team at age 43!

Regardless of how Sunday plays out, what a career it’s been: five Olympic teams, 10 national titles, pbs of 13:13/27:16/2:08:56 (pre-supershoes). How long has Abdi been around? He played a supporting role in Running with the Buffaloes, finishing as the runner-up to Adam Goucher at the 1998 NCAA Cross Country Championships, and finished one place behind LetsRun.com’s own Weldon Johnson at the 2003 USATF Championships in the 10,000. Both of those men have long since retired, but Abdi is still at it. Enjoy your final 26.2, Abdi.

Marty Hehir (2:08:59 pb)
Age: 29

Since running 2:08:59 to win the Marathon Project in December 2020, Hehir has raced sparingly (there’s a good reason for that: Hehir began anesthesiology residency at the University of Virginia Medical Center in June 2021). He was only 19th in his only race of 2022, running 47:57 at the US 10-mile champs on October 2. Still, this is a guy who was 6th at the ’20 Trials and beat a number of top Americans in winning the Marathon Project. If he can repeat a similar performance on Sunday, he should do pretty well in New York.

Ben True (2:12:53 pb)
Age: 36

True was 7th in his debut in New York last year, employing a conservative gameplan. He moved up from 13th at halfway to 7th at the finish in 2:12:53 and had the fastest 5k split of anyone from 35-40k. Back in March, he ran 62:10 in the half — not a mind-blowing time, but a personal best on a tricky NYC course. If he’s in shape and runs a bit more aggressively than last year, he could run a good deal faster than last year.

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Shadrack Kipchirchir (debut)
Age: 33

Kipchirchir owns impressive personal bests at shorter distances (13:08/27:07; the latter is #5 all-time among Americans) and has some strong performances this year. He won the US XC champs in January and was 4th at the US 10-mile champs in October in 46:40. But the most encouraging result was his 61:16 at the NYC Half Marathon in March. That time — quite quick given the course — made Kipchirchir the top American on the day, 24 seconds ahead of Conner Mantz. And it came in Kipchirchir’s half marathon debut. The step up to the full marathon will be another challenge, and New York isn’t the easiest course to debut on, but Kipchirchir is still only 33 and the talent is clearly there.

*Full 2022 New York City Men’s Pro Field Here

More: 2022 NYC Marathon Women’s Preview: In Her Marathon Debut, Hellen Obiri Takes On The World Champ

*All the LRC NY Coverage: 2022 New York City Marathon Hub

If you want our full 2022 NYC Preview podcast that we’ll record after talking to the contenders in New York, join the LetsRun.com Supporters Club today. You get an exclusive podcast every week, savings on running shoes, and one of the softest running shirts in the business if you subscribe for a year. You can cancel at any time. Satisfaction guaranteed.

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