Daniel Romanchuk and Manuela Schär retained their TCS New York City Marathon titles with two contrasting victories in the 2019 renewal of the race.
Romanchuk, who collected his first AbbottWMM Series crown in September, looked set for a relatively easy day at the office as he opened an early lead over Switzerland’s Marcel Hug, but the veteran hauled the 21-year-old back in before they reached the 20km mark.
That triggered a sprint for the eight bonus points on offer before halfway, and Romanchuk claimed the spoils in a tight race across the timing mats before the rest of the race played out.
It appeared to be a straight fight between the pair until the appearance of Britain’s David Weir and Romanchuk’s team mate Aaron Pike, setting up a four-way scrap for the podium as they rolled into the final miles.
Pike fired the first shot as he took the lead, but Romanchuk – gaining racing smarts with each of these battles he finds himself – knew the best place to be as they made the last turn was out in front.
As the former Bennett Blazer began to crank up his arm speed, Pike was first to lose ground, with Weir next to drop off.
Only Hug could stay in the Illinois athlete’s slipstream, but there was no way around him as they powered up the final hill, and Romanchuk burst through the tape in 1:37:24, just one second ahead of his fierce rival.
If Romanchuk’s victory was by the thinnest of margins, Schär’s ninth win in a row could not have been more different.
Traditionally here she has found the gradient of the Verrazzano Narrows Bridge a struggle, giving ground to the power of Tatyana McFadden. On this occasion, the defending series champion had no such trouble.
She was free and clear by almost half a minute by the time she reached the three-mile marker, and did not look back.
The eight bonus points at 20km were comfortably pocketed and she sailed through the second half of the race with no one but the crowds on the pavements for company.
Her winning time was 1:44:20 with a margin just two seconds shy of a full four minutes, and this victory completed a hat-trick of New York City triumphs.
It’s now been 414 days since she began her winning streak in AbbottWMM marathons, and she will be going for a perfect ten straight Majors victories when the series resumes in Tokyo in March of 2020.