NEW YORK (AP) — Kenyans Evans Chebet and Sharon Lokedi caused a stir in their New York City Marathon debut on Sunday.
Chebet won the men’s race and Lokedi the women’s race in his first-ever marathon on an unusually hot day, with temperatures in the 70s, making it one of the hottest in running history since the marathon was moved to November 1986.
Chebet finished in 2 hours, 8 minutes and 41 seconds, 13 seconds ahead of second-placed Shura Kitata of Ethiopia.
There was a scary moment in the men’s race when Daniel Do Nascimento, who had led all the way, crashed out at 21 miles. Race officials later said he was fine.
The Brazilian ran the first half of the race in a blistering time of 1:01.22, which put him 2 minutes ahead of the course record pace. He was leading by nearly 2 minutes for the first 15 miles before he started to slow down a bit.
Do Nascimento got off just before returning to Manhattan and was quickly taken care of by medical professionals. A few miles earlier, he had taken a short 20-second break in the bathroom and also stopped to walk briefly for a few minutes before collapsing.
Chebet saw Do Nascimento on the ground and said he “felt bad for him, but he had to keep running”.
“He knew it was hot and humid and (Do Nascimento) was going at a high pace,” Chebet said through an interpreter. “He has a lot of experience and he knew he was going to surpass him.”
Chebet, 33, broke away from the peloton chasing Do Nascimento as they headed over the Manhattan Bridge for the first time. After Do Nascimento collapsed, Chebet took the lead and was unthreatened the rest of the way.
Chebet won the Boston Marathon earlier this year.
“Boston was actually tougher and that set him up for New York’s win,” the translator for Chebet said. “He is very grateful.”
The win continued a drought for the American men in the race: No American rider has won since 2009. America’s top prospect, Galen Rupp, was in the chasing pack before retiring from the race just before the crossbar. 19 miles.
It was Lokedi’s first-ever marathon and she finished in 2:23.23 – just ahead of Israel’s Lonah Chemtai Salpeter.
“I’m so happy to have won, you know? laughed Lokedi. “I’m really excited, so happy that I made it here. The people there, the course was amazing, the cheers, everything. I’m just grateful.
The 28-year-old was in a tight race before edging out Chemtai Salpeter in the final two miles to win by seven seconds and finish about 50 seconds off the course record.
“I didn’t expect to win, I expected to race well,” Lokedi said. “It was a good result and I’m really excited.”
An hour earlier, the men’s and women’s wheelchair races ended with course records broken.
Marcel Hug of Switzerland won the men’s wheelchair race for the fifth time, tying Kurt Fearnley for the most wins in the event. Hug completed the 26.2-mile course that traverses New York’s five boroughs in 1:25.26 to beat the previous mark of 1:29.22 set by Fearnley of Australia in 2006.
“The conditions were excellent for us. A headwind in the first half. It was very good conditions. I think that’s the reason,” Hug said of the record time. “I didn’t know the time. My goal was to go as fast as possible and I wasn’t focusing on the time.
Hug, who also won the race last year, won $50,000 for breaking the course record. He crossed the finish line more than 2 minutes ahead of runner-up Daniel Romanchuk of Illinois.
Hug, 36, nicknamed the “Silver Bullet”, has had a great streak, winning four gold medals at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo last year as well as the Tokyo, Berlin, London and Chicago marathons in 2022.
Susannah Scaroni also broke the course record in the women’s wheelchair race, finishing in 1:42.43. It was 21 seconds better than the previous mark held by Tatyana McFadden.
Scaroni, a 31-year-old from Illinois, retired early from the field and also earned the bonus money for breaking the course record. Scaroni won the Chicago Marathon last month and took victory for the first time in New York after finishing third in 2019.
The hot weather was not ideal for the 50,000 runners who took the start of the 51st edition of the marathon, which was back at full capacity for the first time since the pandemic. Race organizers said there were nine misting stations on the 26.2-mile race course and there was plenty of water available along the way as well as bananas and energy gels.
There were a few celebrities who ran the race, including Ashton Kutcher and Chelsea Clinton, who finished it for a second straight year. Both were running for charity.
Samantha Judge, wife of New York Yankees home run champ Aaron Judge, also ran the marathon. The baseball free agent presented her with her medal when she finished with Yankees outfielder/designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton.
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