The distance between Kenya and New York may be thousands of miles, but once again it was Kenyan runners attacking the course and making the biggest mark in one of the world’s most famous marathons.
Geoffrey Mutai won the men’s side of the New York City Marathon, while Priscah Jeptoo took home the women’s title. It was the first time since 2011 that the event took place after last year’s version was canceled in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
Mutai is no stranger to crossing the finish line first, defending his title from the 2011 NYC Marathon in convincing fashion. Nobody has repeated as champion since John Kagwe, also of Kenya, did so in 1997-98.
However, when we are breaking down the results for runners, more than simply listing the order of finishers is necessary. After all, even weekend warriors who run around their neighborhoods compare their results and times to their own personal bests.
Mutai finished the 2013 NYC Marathon in two hours, eight minutes and 24 seconds. While just about everyone else in the world wouldn’t have a chance at running 26.2 miles in about the time it takes for an average movie to finish, it was actually far from Mutai’s personal best at the event.
In 2011, he finished three minutes quicker than this year, which was good enough for his course record. To be fair, though, it was rather windy Sunday morning as compared to the nearly perfect conditions he conquered in the past.
Mutai won by 52 seconds over second-place finisher Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia, but on the women's side Jeptoo’s win was much more dramatic.
The women’s champion was trailing for much of the race, with New York resident Buzunesh Deba performing admirably in front of thrilled onlookers. However, Jeptoo charged ahead after being behind by more than three minutes at the halfway point and took the lead for good with about two miles remaining.
Sure, Jeptoo won by 49 seconds, but fans who packed the course and watched on television were treated to some late drama with the comeback. Jeptoo’s final finishing time was two hours, 25 minutes and seven seconds.
If we are talking about personal bests and records as we did on the men’s side, the NYC Marathon title was just the latest highlight of an astounding stretch for Jeptoo. She was the 2012 Olympic silver medalist, 2013 London Marathon champion and took home the $500,000 World Marathon Majors title.
If it is any consolation to men’s runner-up Kebede, who won the London Marathon, he clinched the World Marathon Majors title on the men’s side with his efforts.
For 2013, though, Kenyan runners owned the New York stage.