Ethiopian Tamirat Tola broke a 12-year-old course record as he won the men’s race at the New York City Marathon. The 2022 world champion won in a time of two hours, four minutes and 58 seconds(2:04:58) on Sunday. Tola crossed the finish line first in Central Park, with Kenyan Albert Korir in second and countryman Shura Kitata in third.
Four-time World Marathon Major winner Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya previously held the course record with a time of 2:05:06. Competing in perfect conditions, Tola exorcised the disappointment of two prior fourth-place finishes in New York, relying on the boisterous Big Apple crowd for motivation as he ran on his own for several kilometres.
“The people of New York (are) amazing,” said Tola, who hoisted his arms aloft as he claimed his first World Marathon Major title after taking third in London earlier this year. “I work hard training so it is confidence for me.”
In the women’s race, Kenyan Hellen Obiri claimed a narrow victory over Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey. Obiri, who won this year’s Boston Marathon, came home in a time of 2:27:23, six seconds ahead of Gidey. It was a dramatic conclusion to the women’s race, with Obiri producing an extraordinary final kick to beat Gidey and also finish 10 seconds in front of last year’s winner and compatriot Sharon Lokedi in third.
“My first debut here was terrible for me,” said Obiri, after finishing sixth last year. “Sometimes you learn from your mistake… Finally, I made it.”
The star-studded women’s field began at a surprisingly slow pace, as a crowded lead pack kept together through the 30-kilometre mark, before the tempo picked up considerably with less than eight kilometres to go. The eventual podium finishers were on their own for a three-way sprint through the final 800 metres, where the twice Olympic 5,000 metres silver medallist Obiri relied on her track experience to produce a fast finish. It was her second major win this year after triumphing in Boston.
The New York City Marathon capped a blockbuster year for the World Marathon Majors in which both the men’s and women’s world records were obliterated. Kenyan Kelvin Kiptum beat compatriot Eliud Kipchoge’s world record mark in Chicago last month, while Ethiopian Tigst Assefa shattered the women’s record in Berlin in September.