This is Justin Lagat’s feature on the 2022 TCS New York City Marathon. Justin focused his column on the winner of the elite women’s race, Sharon Lokedi, who won the race in her debut at the distance.
Sharon Lokedi of Kenya could hardly believe her eyes and ears as she crossed the finish line to win the 2022 TCS New York City Marathon!
Moments later, she was still emotional as she spoke about it.
“I am out of words. I’m really excited. I am just so happy that…,” Lokedi looked at the interviewer with eyes that were expectant with tears as she sought a confirmation that what she was saying was real, “…you know, I just won!” The interviewer confirmed that she had won, and she added, “it just is a day that I am really excited, you know. I am out of words.”
Being her first ever marathon race, it came as a surprise, not only to her but to fans who were expecting the title to go to the more accomplished runners, some of them with world titles under their names, on the start list. But in the end, it was Lokedi, the one-time NCAA champion, who would emerge victorious.
Lokedi had been patient throughout the race and was even contented to let the Hellen Obiri, Viola Cheptoo, and Gotytom Gebreselase break away after crossing the halfway point in 1:12:17. Perhaps, a top-five finish for her would have been a good enough. But at around 32km, Lokedi and Lonah Salpeter rejoined the three before they crossed the 35km mark in 1:59:12.
As the race progressed, Salpeter pushed the pace at the front, and Lokedi suddenly found herself alone behind the leader. For a while, she was contented to follow. Then, like someone trying to pinch herself to confirm that what was happening was not just a dream, Lokedi overtook Salpeter, and the latter did nothing to resist the move.
The final stages of the race became very exciting as Lokedi, who was slightly ahead, kept glancing behind her shoulder, and Salpeter, who seemed to be drawing some encouragement from those glances knowing the lack of marathon experience from the current leader, was not letting the gap between them to grow.
It was as though Lokedi was expecting Salpeter to come and run past her any time, especially on the last hill towards the finish line. Nevertheless, she held on to win the race in a new personal best time of 2:23:23. Salpeter came second in 2:23:30, while Gebreselase of Ethiopia finished 3rd in 2:23:39.