Defending champion Geoffrey Mutai and Priscah Jeptoo won the men’s and women’s races at the New York City Marathon yesterday for a Kenyan sweep in chilly, windy conditions through the city’s five boroughs.
After last year’s race was cancelled due to damage inflicted on the city by Superstorm Sandy, the race marked a triumphant return as a record 50,740 runners started from the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge that connects Staten Island to Brooklyn.
The New York Road Runners Club came in for criticism last year as they pressed ahead with plans for the race in the face of widespread devastation.
Nearly 100 people died amid the flooding and property damage wreaked by Sandy, much of the damage located on Staten Island, where runners would have made the traditional start to the 26.2-mile event that winds through all five boroughs of New York.
In yesterday’s race Jeptoo overtook front-running Ethiopian Buzunesh Deba with about two miles to go to win going away in two hours, 25 minutes and seven seconds and claim a huge payday in a race that began in 46 degrees F with winds of 17 mph.
London Marathon winner Jeptoo trailed 2011 New York runner-up Deba, who lives and trains in the Big Apple, by nearly four minutes before shifting into catch-up mode from the 16-mile mark to reel in her rival, who suffered from stomach cramping during the race.
The win brought Jeptoo a World Marathon Majors bonus of $500,000 (€370,598) in addition to the New York prize of $100,000. Deba finished second, 49 seconds back, in a race run under tight security in the aftermath of April’s Boston Marathon bombings.