Kenyans Evans Chebet and Sharon Lokedi made huge splashes in their New York City Marathon debuts.
Chebet won the men’s race and Lokedi the women’s race in her first-ever marathon on an unseasonably warm day, with temperatures above 20 degrees making it one of the hottest in race history since the marathon was moved to November in 1986.
Chebet finished in 2 hours, 8 minutes and 41 seconds, which was 13 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Shura Kitata of Ethiopia.
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There was a scary moment in the men’s race when Daniel Do Nascimento, who had been leading the entire way, collapsed about 10km from the finish line. Race officials later confirmed that the 24-year-old was OK.
NYC marathon leader collapses
The Brazilian ran the first half of the race in a blistering 1:01.22, which put him 2 minutes ahead of the course record pace. He had been leading by nearly 2 minutes for the first 24km before he started to slow down a bit.
Do Nascimento went down right before heading back into Manhattan and was quickly attended to by medical professionals. A few kilometers earlier, he had taken a quick 20-second bathroom break and had also stopped to walk briefly for a few minutes.
Chebet saw Do Nascimento on the ground and said he “felt bad for him, but had to continue to race.”
“He knew that it was hot and humid and (Do Nascimento) was going at a high pace,” Chebet said through a translator.
“He has a lot of experience [but] he knew he was going to surpass him.”
Chebet, 33, pulled away from the pack when chasing Do Nascimento as they headed over the bridge into Manhattan for the first time. After Do Nascimento’s collapse, Chebet took the lead and wasn’t threatened the rest of the way.
Chebet won the Boston Marathon earlier this year.
“Boston was actually harder and it prepared him for the win for New York,” the translator said for Chebet.
“He’s very thankful.”
The victory continued a drought for American men in the race – no runner from the US has won since 2009. The Americans’ top hope, Galen Rupp, was in the chase pack before withdrawing from the race right before the 30km mark.
It was Lokedi’s first-ever marathon and she finished in 2:23.23 — just ahead of Lonah Chemtai Salpeter of Israel.
“I’m just so happy that I just won, you know?!” Lokedi said.
“I’m really excited, just so happy that I did it here. The people out there, the course was amazing, the cheers, everything. I’m just thankful.”
The 28-year-old was in a tight race before she pulled ahead of Chemtai Salpeter in the final four kilometers to win by seven seconds and finish about 50 seconds off the course record.
“I didn’t expect to win, I expected to run well,” Lokedi said.
“It was a good outcome and I’m really excited.”
An hour earlier, both the men’s and women’s wheelchair races ended with course records being broken.
Marcel Hug of Switzerland was victorious in the men’s wheelchair race for the fifth time, tying Australian Kurt Fearnley for the most-ever victories in that event.
Hug finished the course in 1:25.26 to break the previous mark of 1:29.22 set by Fearnley in 2006.
“The conditions were great for us. A tailwind in the first half. It was very good conditions. I think that’s the reason,” Hug said of the record time.
“I didn’t know the time. My goal was to go as fast as possible and not focus on the time.”
Susannah Scaroni also broke the course record in the women’s wheelchair race, finishing in 1:42.43. That was 21 seconds better than the old mark, which was held by Tatyana McFadden.
Scaroni, a 31-year-old from Illinois, pulled away from the field early. Last year’s winner, Australian Madison De Rozario finished third in a time of 1:45:24.
The warm weather wasn’t ideal for the 50,000 runners who started the 51st edition of the marathon, which was back to full capacity for the first time since the pandemic.
Race organizers said there were nine misting stations on the course with plenty of water, bananas and energy gels available along the way.
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