New York City Marathon Returns with Kenyan Runners Taking the Wins

Picture from 2019 NYC marathon

On Sunday, approximately 30,000 athletes from all over the world gathered at the Verrazzano Bridge in Staten Island for the return of the famous 26.2-mile New York City Marathon. Runners started on Staten Island, then zigzagged north through Brooklyn and Queens before proceeding west across the Queensboro Bridge into Manhattan and the Bronx, finally crossing the finish line in Central Park.

The New York Post reports, Kenyan athletes claimed victory in both the men’s and women’s races at the 50th annual Marathon, one of whom won gold at the Tokyo Olympics only a few months earlier.

Albert Korir, 27, of Kenya, won the men’s race with a time of 2:08:22, while Peres Jepchirchir, 28, of Kenya, won the women’s race with a time of 2:22:39. They will each take home a $100,000 prize.

Jepchirchir, who made history as the first Olympic Marathon champion to win the race, said, “After I [won] the Olympic medal, I was not expecting to win.”

In the race’s home stretch, she broke away from the field and finished four seconds ahead of fellow Kenyan Viola Cheptoo. Jepchirchir stated she “felt something [she’d] never felt before” as she neared the finish line in Central Park.

She commented, “I don’t know where that energy came from.”

Ababel Yeshaneh of Ethiopia came in third place in the women’s race, followed by American runner Molly Seidel.

Korir, who came in second place in the 2019 New York City Marathon and won the Ottawa Race Weekend Marathon in 2019, said, “I didn’t imagine I would win today.” He took the lead in the men’s race during the 18th mile, passing Mohamed El Araby of Morocco and Eyob Faniel of Italy, eventually beating out Araby by 44 seconds. Jepchirchir stated, “I tried to push it. I tried to get the best time.”

Second place finisher in the men’s race, Araby said, “I was running [and] someone write [sic], ‘Welcome to New York.’ It was beautiful.”

He also noted that because of COVID-19 travel restrictions, his journey to the United States took 56 hours.

Faniel finished third, followed by Elkanah Kibet, a Kenyan-born runner who became a U.S. citizen in 2013, finishing fourth overall.

MTA acting president and race sponsor Craig Cipriano said at a press conference last week, “It really feels like we’re coming back as a city when we have this New York City Marathon.”

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