The 52,000 plus finishers of the 2018 TCS NYC Marathon were running on a gloriously sunny day, with some bluster winds. The races, for both women and men, resulted in conservative first halves and enthallingly fast second halfs! The win by Mary Keitany, in 2:22.28, and the win by Lelisa Desisa, in 2:05.59, were both the second fastest NYC times of all times!
In this column, Justin Lagat provides the view from Kenya on the masterrful domination of Mary Keitany, who ran the second half nine minutes faster than the first half!
A spectacular run by Mary Keitany to win a fourth title at the New York City Marathon
After the disappointment she got by going out too fast at the London Marathon in April, Keitany had an intention to run more patiently this time round at the New York City marathon.
But, it was not until the two Ethiopians started it. Rahma Tusa and Netsanet Gudeta seemed to have mistaken Keitany’s patience for weakness as the two engaged in a surge probably aimed at dropping the rest of the pack after passing the half-way point. They did succeed in dropping the rest of the field that included Vivian Cheruiyot, Shalane Flanagan, Mamitu Daska and Desiree Linden, among other strong contenders. But, Keitany just hung on behind the two.
As the race progressed, the hunter soon became the hunted when Keitany started to cook the two Ethiopians in their own fat. The two began to struggle to hang on with Tusa almost stepping on Keitany’s shoes as she desperately tried to keep the gap from developing. Gudeta was the first one to be dropped, followed shortly by Tusa.
Not sure whether she was aware of the very huge gap she had already created, Keitany kept the fast pace relentless and never looked back. Her 25km to 30km split was an amazing 15:19. Tusa and Gudeta soon became victims of their own fast pace and other runners who were wise enough to slow down from the crazy pace were already beginning to overtake them.
Some signs of a little struggle by Keitany were evident after around the 40km point, but she had already done enough to make it an historic run. She ran the second half of the race in a stunning 66:58 to win her fourth New York City Marathon title in 2:22:48. She finished the race almost four minutes ahead of her next competitor.
Vivian Cheruiyot and Shalane Flanagan kept a consistent pace that paid in the end as they eventually ended up in that order on the podium. Cheruiyot finished the race in 2:26.02 against Flanagan’s 2:26:22.
There was a great and exciting competition in the men’s race between Geoffrey Kamworor, Lelisa Desisa and Shura Kitata. It was still any man’s race up to the last two kilometers when, at first, Kamworor increased the pace and Kitata was dropped. Desisa then engaged Kamworor in another surge and was able to break away. Kitata was able to overtake Kamworor and came up to Desisa’s shoulder again in the last few hundred kilometers in what promised to become an exciting sprint for the tape, but Kitata might have used too much strength in closing the gap as he had nothing left in him to respond when Desisa made the final dash for glory.
Lelisa Desisa won the men’s race in 2:05:59 followed by Shura Kitata in 2:06:01 as Geoffrey Kamworor took third in 2:06:26.