photo by Pretty Sporty Photos, Cheryl Treworgy
Geoffrey Mutai battled the best field assembled in New York in years, plus gusty winds and cold to win his second New York City Marathon title.
Geoffrey Mutai, battling wind and best New York field ever, defends his title, and Tsegaye Kebede wins World Marathon Majors,
by Larry Eder
New York, November 3, 2013
What a difference a year makes. At this time last year, I was walking through Central Park, as runners from around the world were keeping the spirit of the New York City marathon alive, after it was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy.
Mary Wittenberg, the CEO of the New York Road Runners, was the subject of so much vitriol last year. The truth was, Mary was in a no-win situation last year. She saw running as a way to renew the city. In the midst of Hurricane Sandy, the city of New York needed to recover, and a year later, there is still the psychological scars and physical scars of a region ravaged by Mother Nature.
Mary Wittenberg was smiling all week, and rightly so. The weather was to be cool, and windy, but those kind of things can be combated by the 50,740 starters today. In 2013, the ING New York City Marathon gives the city an event to renew. As I was sent on twitter by a reader, " The New York City marathon is my favorite day of the year. " For those, now a year past Hurricane Sandy, the 2013 ING NYC Marathon is a time to renew and celebrate.
The men's elite race was an example of how a great race is all about the competition. With a pack numbering near thirty runners early on, Meb Keflezighi lead the pack through the first five kilometers in 15:42. Observing Meb and the others in the group were Geoffrey Mutai, the 2011 NYC champion, and Stephen Kiprotich, the Olympic and World Champion.
The men's pack kept it focused, hitting 10k in 30;54 and 15k in 46:06, without much change. The pack of nearly thirty dropped to twenty-one by 15k, but all of the expected suspects were still there.
Geoffrey Mutai, Tsegaye Kebede, Stanley Biwott, Wesley Korir were all there. Lusapha April, the winner of Hannover surprised many, as did European bronze medalist at 10,000m Daniele Meucci.
Meb Keflezighi was surprisingly up front for most of the first half. I say surprisingly, because the cagey championship runner had fallen hard two weeks ago, and was not at the top of his form.
The lead pack hit the halfway at 1:05.06, with fourteen in the pack at halfway. Meb Keflezighi was there, but, he would begin to fall back, finishing in 2:23.47, finishing as the sixth American.
Wesley Korir looked very good, as the 2012 Boston Marathon Champ and 2011 LA Marathon champ, but, as the race professed, even the strongest heart sometimes just does not have a great day.
The pack of nine (Daniel Meucci was falling back, finishing tenth in 2:12.03). Geoffrey Mutai was following Tsegaye Kebede, Stanley Kiprotich, Lusapho April and Julius Arile.
At the 25k in 1:17.03, there were nine running together, checking each other out. In the cold, windy conditions, this would be a negative split race, and a kickers race. Geoffrey Mutai, Tsegaye Kebede were there, with Lusapho April in front.
As the leaders hit 30k, in 1:31.41, the pack dropped Wesley Korir (ninth in 2:11.34), Peter Cheruiyot Kirui (eighth in 2:11.34), Jackson Kiprop (seventh in 2:11.23). Matsato Iwui of Japan, who was forty-two seconds back at 30k, was the only male marathoner to move up over the past 12k.
In the five thousand meters between 30k and 35k, Geoffrey Mutai put the hammer down, and Mutai and Stanley Biwott were running next to each other. They put 18 seconds on Kebede, as Mutai and Biwott hit 35k in 1:46.44, a 5k split of 15:03! Stephen Kiprotich, who had looked so good, went off the back as well.
And then, there were two....
Geoffrey Mutai has won New York before, but Stanley Biwott was a worthy adversary, but Mutai was not letting Biwott save his energy for the finish. Geoffrey Mutai really took off between 35 kilometers and 40 kilometers, running 14:48 for the 5k split. How fast was that?
Mutai broke Stanley Biwott, who started to drop back, and would finish fifth in 2:10.41, two minutes, seventeen seconds behind Geoffrey Mutai's winning time.
Geoffrey Mutai charged to the finish, with much left, winning in 2:08.24, defending his 2011 title. Tsegaye Kebede fought back from a back patch and took second in 2:09.16, ending a year with London wins, fourth in Moscow World Champs and second in ING New York, something not done before in World Marathon Majors.
Tsegaye Kebede, with his three great races in 2013, the win in London, fourth in Moscow, and now, second in New York gives Mr. Kebede a prize of $500k for his World Marathon Majors victory. " I had a cramp after 20 miles" noted Kebede after the race.
In third Lusapho April, the young South African (31), who had won Hannover last spring, took third here, with a huge smile, running 2:09.45. In fourth, Julius Arile ran 2:10.03, moving up past Stanley Biwott over the last few kilometers. The biggest change was Masato Imai of Japan, who moved up to sixth from ninth place at 30k!
The top four ran their second half marathons faster than the first, in a race where the cold winds gusted to 17-20 miles an hour, and ambitions were slowed by exhaustion.
Stephen Kiprotich told us, " My back was sore after 25k", and he slowed down, finishing twelfth in 2:13.05.
Meb Keflezighi had a rough day. " I started to walk after sixteen miles and I would start up again. At 19.3 miles, I stopped for three minutes. Today was not about me, it was about New York, it was about Boston, it was about the USA. I cried when they played the national anthem. I cried when people encouraged me today. I had missed five weeks of training with my injury. I could not go with them when they took off. It was not a day for personal bests, but a day for New York." Meb finished twenty-third, in 2:23.47.
But the smile on Geoffrey Mutai's face said it all. In the best field assembled in decades in New York, Geoffrey Mutai took on all comers and defended his 2011 title.
2013 INGNYCM, Top ten men, 1. Geoffrey Mutai, KEN, 2:08.34, 2. Tsegaye Kebede, ETH, 2:09.15, 3. Lusapho April, RSA, 2:09.45, 4. Julius Arile, KEN, 2:10.03, 5. Stanley Biwott, KEN, 2:10.41, 6.Masato Imai, JPN, 2:10.45, 7. Jackson KIprop, UGA, 2:10.56, 8. Peter Cheruiyot Kirui, KEN, 2:11.23, 9. Wesley Korir, KEN, 2:11.34, 10. Daniele Meucci, ITA, 2:12.03, #INGNYCM