NEW YORK – 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 course’s second-fastest time following Kenyan Geoffrey Mutai’s 2:05:05 record in 2011. Last year’s winner, Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya, finished third.
“This is my dream,” Desisa said. “To be a champion.”
Keitany, 36, became the second woman to win the marathon four times. Her time of 2:22:48 fell slightly short of the women’s course record, which remain at 2:22:31 as run by fellow Kenyan Margaret Okayo in the 2003 edition.
Keitany won in 2014, 2015 and 2016 before coming in second last year to American Shalane Flanagan.
She joins Grete Waitz, a Norwegian who 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.”
American Daniel Romanchuk won the men’s wheelchair division, while Switzerland’s Manuela Schar defended her crown in the women’s wheelchair division.