Mary Keitany stormed to a fourth TCS New York City Marathon crown on a sun-soaked day in the Big Apple with a devastating performance.
The 36-year-old Kenyan retuned to winning ways after defeat to Shalane Flanagan here in 2017 and a failed attempt at the world record in London last April.
Having attempted to blow the field away early in London six months ago, Keitany measured her efforts a little more here, waiting until the 20-25km portion of the race to unleash a kick that no one could handle.
London champion Vivian Cheruiyot eventually left the chasing pack behind her but stood little chance of hunting down Keitany in this sort of form. This was Keitany’s tenth podium place in an AbbottWMM race and it puts her in among the early leaders in Series XII as the program takes a break until the Tokyo Marathon in March 2019.
In an astonishingly fast display, Keitany’s 17th and 18th and 19th mile splits all dipped under five minutes, doing irreparable damage to the one athlete who had attempted to stay with her, Rahma Tusa.
The Ethiopian paid for her efforts, as Cheruiyot and then defending champion Shalane Flanagan powered past her to complete the podium.
Keitany’s time of 2:22:48 makes her the second fastest woman to have won on New York’s demanding streets.
In the men’s race, Lelisa Desisa produced an impressive late show of strength to add New York City to his 2013 and 2015 Boston titles.
His best finish in New York before today was third last year, and in April he had been beaten by the arctic conditions in Boston, retiring after 35km. This was some return to form.
With all the early front running done by his compatriot Shure Kitata, it was eventually defending champion Geoffrey Kamworor who made a decisive move to whittle down a leading pack of five.
But Kamworor was covered by Desisa who defied the Kenyan’s attempts to break free. The hat that had been shielding his top two inches from the early morning chill was soon cast off as Desisa set about his work.
As they approached Columbus Circle, he provided a test Kamworor could not pass. Before they had set foot in Central Park for the final run to the finish, the world half-marathon champion had faded. Kitata also motored past him, and made a gallant effort to chase down Desisa, but the 28-year-old had just enough to hang on up the hill and hit the tape first in a time of 2:05:59.