Sunday, November 6, 2011

Kenya's Geoffrey Mutai sets NY Marathon record

Geoffrey Mutai celebrates after winning the men's Division of the 42nd ING New York City Marathon in Central Park on November 6, 2011 in New York City. Photo/AFP

Geoffrey Mutai celebrates after winning the men's Division of the 42nd ING New York City Marathon in Central Park on November 6, 2011 in New York City. Photo/AFP 

By AFP

Kenya's Geoffrey Mutai smashed the New York Marathon men's record on Sunday while Ethiopian Firehiwot Dado surprised herself with a late charge to capture the women's title in her New York debut.

In ideal conditions, Mutai surged from a pack to the lead with seven miles remaining and won in two hours, five minutes and six seconds, shattering the old course record of 2:07:43 set by Ethiopia's Tesfaye Jifar in 2001.

"I tried at the last minute to push it a little more," Mutai said. "We all worked together and then it was time to push. I was trying to run my own race."

Mutai, 29, ran the fastest marathon time ever recorded to win this year's Boston Marathon in 2:03:02 but the astounding time is not recognized as a world record by the IAAF because of course elevation issues.

Emmanuel Mutai, the reigning London Marathon champion who is not related to the winner, was second for the second year in a row in 2:06:28 with Ethiopian Tsegaye Kebede, the 2008 Beijing Olympic bronze medalist, third in 2:07:14.

Dado took the women's title in 2:23:15, edging compatriot Buzunesh Deba by four seconds with reigning London Marathon champion Mary Keitany of Kenya next in 2:23:39, third for the second year in a row.

Keitany surged to the lead from the start and spent most of the race running alone until she tired and was caught with the Ethiopian duo two miles from the finish of the 26.2-mile event.

Dado, who won her third consecutive Rome Marathon title last March in her prior personal best of 2:24:13, grabbed the lead in the final mile and held off Deba, who lives and trains in New York, down the stretch for the triumph.

"I'm very happy because there was a runner leading in front of us and I didn't think we would catch her, but I was very happy when we were able to catch her," Dado said through a translator.

"Once we saw her, we said to each other, 'Let's catch her,' and working together we were able to catch her."

Keitany, who set the world half-marathon record of 1:05:50 earlier this year, was on an early pace to challenge the women's world record of Britain's Paula Radcliffe, 2:17:42 from 2005 in London, and the course record of 2:22.31 set by Kenya's Margaret Okayo in 2003.

But perseverance paid off for Dado and Deba.

"I'm so happy," Deba said. "People were cheering me and I had so much confidence."

The men's leaders stayed in a pack of about 20 runners early in ideal conditions, but after 25 minutes the Mutai duo picked up the pace and trimmed the lead group to 10 on course-record pace, reaching the midpoint in 1:03:16.

Ninety minutes into the race, Geoffrey Mutai pulled away racing up First Avenue and no rival could answer his challenge.

He was still 88 seconds off the IAAF-sanctioned men's marathon world record of 2:03:38 by Kenya's Patrick Makau at the Berlin Marathon just 43 days ago.

advertisement