Eritrean Ghirmay Ghebreslassie, the reigning world marathon champion, captured the 40th New York City Marathon men’s title on Sunday, the first winner from outside Kenya since 2010.
Eight days shy of his 21st birthday, the prodigy accelerated at the halfway mark and overwhelmed his rivals to run alone over the final miles to win in two hours, seven minutes and 51 seconds.
Ghebreslassie’s New York debut came after a fourth-place showing at London and the Rio Olympics.
At the halfway mark, a trio pulled away from the pack — Ghebreslassie, Kenya’s Lucas Rotich and Ethiopian Lelisa Desisa, last year’s Boston Marathon champion.
In the 20th mile, Ghebreslassie surged away from Rotich and Desisa, accelerating ahead to pull away from his last threats.
Rotich was second in 2:08:53 and shared a high five with his countryman, who ran back down the course to greet Rotich.
American Abdi Abdirahman, 39, was third in 2:11:23 with Japan’s Hiroyuki Yamamoto fourth in his New York debut, another 26 seconds adrift.
Kenya’s Stanley Biwott, last year’s New York champion, was out before the halfway mark in another disappointment at the scene of his first major marathon crown.
In August at Rio, Biwott dropped out at the halfway point of the Olympic marathon, saying he was given the wrong water bottle and that caused stomach problems.
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THREE IN A ROW FOR KEITANY
Kenya’s Mary Keitany, meanwhile, captured her third consecutive New York City Marathon women’s title on Sunday, pulling away just past the halfway mark on the way to an overwhelming triumph.
Keitany won in an unofficial time of two hours, 24 minutes and 26 seconds, well off the New York women’s course record of 2:22.31 by Kenya’s Margaret Okayo in 2003.
Keitany, the second-fastest woman in marathon history behind Britain’s Paula Radcliffe, has the longest New York women’s win streak since Norway’s Grete Waitz took five in a row from 1982-1986.
With plenty of time to prepare for her 26.2-mile Big Apple run after not being selected to compete at the Rio Olympics, Keitany cruised to the $100 000 top prize.
Keitany was in a pack of 14 after five miles led by Ethiopia’s Buzunesh Deba, twice a New York runner-up and Boston podium finisher without a win at either.
Keitany, whose personal best is 2:18:37, accelerated the pace and by the 10-mile mark the lead group had trimmed to herself, Kenya’s Joyce Chepkirui and Ethiopia’s Aselefech Mergia.
By mile 12, Mergia was falling back and at 15 miles, Keitany had opened a 10-second lead. By mile 16, Chepkirui’s gap was 33 seconds back and growing and Keitany surged to the finish alone.
1. Ghirmay Ghebreslassie (ERI) 2hrs, 7mins 54 secs
2. Lucas Rotich (KEN) 2:08:53
3. Abdi Abdirahman (USA) 2:11:23
4. Hiroyuki Yamamoto (JPN) 2:11:49
5. Shadrack Biwott (USA) 2:12:01
6. Tadesse Yae Dabi (ETH) 2:13;06
7. Moses Kipsiro (UGA) 2:14:18
8. Tyler Pennel (USA) 2:15:09
9. Ben Payne (USA) 2:15:46
10. Patrick Smyth (USA) 2:16:34.
1. Mary Keitany (KEN) 2:24:26
2. Sally Kipyego (KEN) 2:28:01
3. Molly Huddle (USA) 2:28:13
4. Joyce Chepkirui (KEN) 2:29:08
5. Diane Nukuri (BDI) 2:33:04
6. Aselefech Mergia (ETH) 2:33:28
7. Lanni Marchant (CAN) 2:33:50
8. Neely Gracey (USA) 2:34:55
9. Sara Hall (USA) 2:36:12
10. Ayantu Dakebo Hailemaryam (ETH) 2:37:07.