Former World Marathon Record holder Wilson Kipsang’ held off a stiff challenge from Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa to win the 2014 New York marathon in 2:10:59 and wrap the 2014 World Marathon Majors jackpot as well.
Thirty two-year-old Mary Keitany also returned from maternity break to win the women’s race in 2:25:7 ahead of compatriot Jemimah Sumgong.
Kipsang saved his best for last, out-sprinting the enterprising Desise to win just six seconds ahead in a race that had Olympic and World champion Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda relegated to fifth.
Set on the freezing and windy streets of New York, the elite men huddled together for the opening 35km before 2012 World Marathon Majors (WMM) winner Geoffrey Mutai led a split.
They thereafter exchanged leads, as the course neared 37km from where Kipsang and Desisa pulled away with Mutai falling back by the kilometre.
With just 2km to the tape, Desisa strategically pulled back allowing the lanky Kipsang to race ahead hoping the Kenyan would burn himself out in the last stages.
His attempted sprint with 300m left succeeded in dislodging Kipsang from the lead but barely 10 seconds before Kipsang opened his long legs, speeding to the finishing line for an emphatic win to claim the US$ 100,000 (KES 8.6mn) winners prize and a further US$ 500,000 (KES 46.6mn) WMM jackpot.
The women’s race was a near copycat of the men’s as Keitany and Sumgong raced clear ahead of the park leaving 29-year-old Sara Moreira of Portugal trailing from a distant. Sumgong appeared to be stronger than Keitany with 1km left, but the veteran road racer showed her class and composure, speeding steadily to the finishing line to win her first marathon since winning the 2012 London marathon.
Yesterday’s win was Keitany’s first in three attempts in the race. She finished third in the two previous runs but warmed up to this year’s edition with the second fastest time in women’s half marathon history at The Great North Run in England.
Yesterday’s race was jolted with the news that Rita Jeptoo had tested positive to banned substances.
Rita was due to appear in New York to claim her jackpot purse in a WMM ceremony that has since been cancelled.