Albert Korir wins the New York Marathon

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NEW YORK (AP) – New York was looking for a comeback story for its 50th marathon, and Albert Korir kept his promises.

And for a city whose sports fans don’t accept second best, Peres Jepchirchir scored a memorable first.

Korir and Jepchirchir made a Kenyan sweep in the New York City Marathon on Sunday, Korir winning the men’s race two years after finishing second and Jepchirchir becoming the only woman to compete in a major marathon in the fall after winning a gold medal Olympic.

The second oldest of the world’s major marathons returned after canceling in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. In a city where more than 34,000 people have died from COVID-19, organizers were hoping for an uplifting marathon-like celebration two months after the September 11 attacks.

“It was fantastic,” Korir said.

In the streets emptied 21 months ago, except for ambulances rushing to help a city crippled by the coronavirus – and later filled with angst and frustration in the days following the murder of George Floyd – it There was simply joy on Sunday as around 30,000 runners made their way through the five arrondissements.

Brooklynites applauded the first wheelchair competitors between sips of coffee. Crowds on Manhattan’s First Avenue greeted the runners from the Queensboro Bridge. Bronx supporters waved runners into the home stretch.

They applauded and shouted for the elite and all the runners.

2017 champion Shalane Flanagan ran her sixth major marathon in six weeks – a first made possible because the Boston, London and Tokyo marathons were pushed back from spring to fall by the pandemic. The 40-year-old American calls her trip Project Eclipse due to the scarcity of the opportunity.

“I thought the fans were on a whole different level today,” she said. “The enthusiasm was so contagious. I felt like everyone had this deep feeling of gratitude.

Also on the course: Dr Jose Alfredo Jimenez Gaxiola, a Mexican intensive care doctor who has weathered the pandemic and survived his own battle with COVID-19; Kellie Roe Kenny of Califon, New Jersey, a 9/11 survivor who first ran in 2001 in memory of fallen colleagues; and Chris Nikic, the first athlete with Down’s syndrome to complete a full Ironman triathlon.

Molly Seidel finished fourth in her first race since her bronze medal at the Tokyo Games, becoming the first American since Deena Kastor in 2004 to win an Olympic medal.

She revealed on Sunday that she broke two ribs about a month ago, but she still finished in 2 hours, 24 minutes and 42 seconds, the fastest time an American has ever set in New York.

“Every build comes with challenges,” Seidel said. “It was interesting.”

Seidel said she was motivated to run New York because it would be the first time her family could see her run since the 2020 Olympic trials – international travelers have been banned from attending the Tokyo Olympics.

“I hope there is a beer waiting for me at the hotel,” said Seidel. “We’re going to go crazy tonight.”

In the men’s professional race, Korir passed Moroccan Mohamed El Aaraby and Italian Eyob Faniel in the 18th mile and quickly eliminated any drama. He won in 2:08:22.

“It was not an easy race,” Korir said. “But I enjoyed it.”

It was Korir’s first victory in one of the World Marathon Majors and his first time on a podium since winning the 2019 Ottawa Race Weekend Marathon. Korir, 27, was second behind Geoffrey Kamworor in 2019 by 23 seconds and did not race again until June due to the pandemic.

El Aaraby held on for an unlikely second place after finishing 11th at the Tokyo Olympics. Faniel finished third.

Jepchirchir was alongside compatriot Viola Cheptoo and Ethiopian Ababel Yeshaneh from the moment they entered the Bronx to the entrance to Central Park.

Moments after swallowing two packets of energy gel, Jepchirchir turned on the jets and walked away, winning in 2:22:39 for the third fastest time by a woman in New York City Marathon history.

“It’s not easy,” she said of the New York class. “Towards the finish line I felt something that I had never felt before finishing a marathon.

Jepchirchir, 28, won gold at the Tokyo Olympics marathon in August and came back on a short recovery to win a race once dominated by her hero Mary Keitany, four-time winner in New York City who recently retired from the sport.

Cheptoo finished second in his marathon debut and quickly found his brother, Bernard Lagat, who was broadcasting the race on ESPN. Yeshaneh was third.

Switzerland’s Marcel Hug won the men’s wheelchair race for the fourth time, finishing more than 6.5 minutes ahead of the next rider for his first title since 2017. Australian Madison de Rozario won the event. women in a wheelchair, fending off former champions Tatyana McFadden and Manuela Schär for her first victory in the Big Apple.

The field was reduced by around 40% this year to help keep runners at bay, and participants had to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours of race day. Runners entered for the 2020 race that was eliminated were given the option of a full refund or entry to the 2021, ’22 or ’23 races.

The non-competitive field also had its share of famous athletes, including former United States National Women’s Football Team Abby Wambach, Lauren Holiday, Kate Markgraf and Leslie Osborne. Former New York Giants runner Tiki Barber ran for the seventh time.

Tony Award-winning actress Kelli O’Hara was due to perform the national anthem before testing her lungs on the course, while two members of British rock group Mumford & Sons were also signed up to perform. Entrants also included “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” contestants Matt James, Tyler Cameron, Tayshia Adams and Zac Clark.

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