Obiri and Tola take New York titles

Tamirat Tola secured his first AbbottWMM victory with a course record at the TCS New York City Marathon.

The Ethiopian entered the race as the fastest man in the field, and proved to have too much for Jemal Yimer, who was the only athlete to stay with him late into the race.

Tola was in a lead group of eight men at halfway, by which point the pace was outside Geoffrey Mutai’s 2011 course record of 2:05:06.

Ten kilometers later, Tola had begun to crank the pace up significantly, with a projected finish of 2:04:17. 2021 champion Albert Korir had been left behind, with Yimer hanging on, but at 19 mies, Tola attacked again.

His lead at Mile 20 was just six seconds, but that was widened to over 30 with less than 10km left.

Yimer’s efforts began to take their toll on him as Tola disappeared into the distance, with Korir and 2020 London champion Shura Kitata surging past him to claim second and third place.

Tola, the 2022 world champion in Oregon, eventually shaved eight seconds off the course record, finishing in 2:04:58.

It marks a welcome return to form for Tola who was forced to drop out of this year’s world championship marathon in Budapest with stomach issues.

In the women’s race, Hellen Obiri won a tight, tactical arm wrestle as she outpaced New York newcomer Letesenbet Gidey in Central Park. Obiri became the first woman in 34 years to complete a Boston/New York double in the same year.

Obiri’s margin of victory was just six seconds over Gidey, with 2022 champion Sharon Lokedi a further four seconds behind her.

A cagey contest saw American Kellyn Taylor lead a large pack for much of the race as the pace remained slow.

Former world record-holder Brigid Kosgei and 2022 podium placer Viola Cheptoo were among the five runners who eventually broke away, and it was the 10,000m speed of Obiri and Gidey that made the pair seem favourites as the race entered Central Park.

Obiri proved the strongest as they raced up the final gradient, with the Kenyan taking the tape in the early afternoon sunshine.

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