NYC Marathon

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Ethiopia's Desisa, Kenya's Keitany win 2018 NYC Marathon

November 04, 2018 - 10:41 am

NEW YORK (AP/1010 WINS) -- Mary Keitany of Kenya and Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia won the New York City Marathon on Sunday, with Keitany dominating the strong women's field for her fourth victory in the event and Desisa surging ahead of two other runners near the finish line.

Desisa, 28, held off countryman Shura Kitata by 1.99 seconds for his first win in New York, joining victories at the Boston Marathon in 2013 and 2015. He finished second in New York in 2014 and third in 2015 and 2017.

Desisa finished in 2 hours, 5 minutes, 59 seconds, the second fastest time for the course in history. Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya set the record of 2:05:05 in 2011. Last year's winner, Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya, finished third on Sunday.

"This is my dream," Desisa said. "To be a champion."

Keitany, 36, became the second woman to win the marathon four times. She ran the race in 2:22:48, the second fastest time for the course in history. Margaret Okayo of Kenya set the record of 2:22:31 in 2003.

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NYC Marathon
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Keitany won in 2014, 2015 and 2016 before coming in second last year to American Shalane Flanagan. She joined Grete Waitz, a Norwegian won the marathon nine times between 1978-1988, as the only women to win the marathon four times.

"I can say the course record was not in my mind," Keitany said. "For me, winning was very important."

She and Ethiopians Rahma Tusa and Gudeta turned their race to a three-woman field at the 15-mile mark. Keitany pulled away from Tusa and Gudeta at the 19-mile mark, leading Tusa by 26.58 seconds and Gudeta by 43.98 seconds. She extended her lead over Tusa to 1:27.83 at the 21-mile mark.

From that point, the question was not whether Keitany would win. Rather, it was by how much.

She beat countrywoman Vivian Cheruiyot by 3 minutes, 13 seconds.

Flanagan finished third.

"You have to find motivation, things to focus on," Flanagan said. "When I finally got to third place, I got another level of excitement because I was fighting."

The United States had four women finish in the top 10: Molly Huddle was fourth, Desiree Linden was sixth and Allie Kieffer was seventh.

Four American men also finished in the top 10: Jared Ward was sixth, Scott Fauble was seventh, Shadrack Biwott was ninth and Chris Derrick was tenth.

Daniel Romanchuk became the first American to win the men's wheelchair division, with a time of 1:36:21. Romanchuk finished 01.15 seconds ahead of Switzerland's Marcel Hug. David Weir of Britain, American Aaron Pike and Australian Kurt Fernley rounded out the top five finishers.

"I need air and I'm in pain," said Romanchuk, a 20-year old from Champaign, Illinois, who won the Chicago Marathon last month. "It's wonderful to be able to win my two Abbott major marathons on American soil. It's an amazing experience."

A cold morning gave way to a beautiful day Sunday as more than 50,000 runners kicked off the 48th New York City Marathon. 

Many runners shed their clothes at the approach to the Verrazzano Bridge. The Department of Sanitation collects and donates the clothes -- about 60,000 tons of them -- to Goodwill. 

New York Road Runners President and CEO Michael Capiraso says the marathon isn't just about runners proving their mettle, it's also for a good cause.

"We have a lot of folks that are running for charity who raise over $30 million for charities here in New York City and around the country," Capiraso. 

Capiraso says there's always something different each  year. 

"The American women field is really, really great this year. Coming off Shalane Flanagan's win last year, we've got a lot of talent here," he said. 

Only a small fraction of the runners are pros. There are also celebrities and other notables. Among them is Patrick Harten, who helped Captain Sully Sullenberger land a plane on the Hudson River in 2009. Harten was the air traffic controller that day. 

"I'm seeing Sully at the end," Harten said. "He's going to give me my medal at the end of the race. This is my hometown marathon, so just that fact alone makes it special for me." 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.