OBIRI, KIPLIMO WIN COLD AND WINDY UNITED AIRLINES NYC HALF
By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2023 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved – Used with permission.
NEW YORK (19-Mar) — In their first appearances at the United Airlines NYC Half, Hellen Obiri of Kenya and Jacob Kiplimo of Uganda scored convincing victories, winning in 1:07:21 and 1:01:31, respectively. Despite near-freezing temperatures and significant headwinds, Obiri managed to set an event and course record, eclipsing the standard set by Senbere Teferi of Ethiopia at last year’s race by 14 seconds. Both athletes won $20,000 in prize money.
OBIRI AND TEFERI IN A TWO-WOMAN RACE
As soon as the starter’s horn was sounded for the elite women’s section at 7:08 a.m., Obiri went right to the front and established a surprisingly quick pace for the notoriously hilly course. In the first two kilometers, Obiri was joined by defending champion Teferi, Diane Van Es of the Netherlands, Jessica Warner-Judd of Great Britain, and Karoline Bjerkeli Grøvdal of Norway. But by the 5-K mark (15:50), everyone by Teferi had been dropped; Van Es and Grøvdal were running together about 22 seconds back.
From that point, Obiri took control of the race. Teferi drafted her trying to shelter from the wind, but Obiri seemed to slice through it easily, pumping her arms in her signature style. The Kenyan –the only woman in history to win world titles in indoor track, outdoor track and cross country– put in a little surge before 10-K (31:29), but Teferi remained close. Obiri had made a plan with her On Athletics Club coach Dathan Ritzenhein before the race and she was sticking with it.
“Our plan was to do (the move) after 12-K, 15-K,” Obiri told Race Results Weekly. “10-K is too early.”
Climbing up the exit ramp from the FDR Drive to East 42nd Street just before the 15-K point, Obiri began to drop Teferi. The gap was seven seconds at 15-K (47:29), and although Obiri shot a few looks behind her the victory was already hers. Now it was just a question of the time.
“It was so windy,” Obiri said, shivering as she spoke. “I say, let me push myself after 15-K, and I said maybe I can try to go faster.”
Running up the service road into Central Park, Obiri held her form and handled the final hill to the finish tape with ease. Her time was remarkably fast given the conditions, but it did not surprise her coach.
“Not too bad,” Ritzenhein said with a laugh when asked about his star athlete’s performance. “She’s been…
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