Tola breaks long-standing men’s course record as Obiri beats Gidey and Lokedi in thrilling women’s showdown
Tamirat Tola enjoyed a runaway victory in the TCS New York City Marathon in a course record of 2:04:58 on Sunday (Nov 5) as Hellen Obiri outsprinted Letesenbet Gidey to win a slower yet more competitive women’s race in 2:27:23.
If Tola ran the race like a lion, breaking away from his rivals with 10km to go, then the women’s race was more cat-and-mouse with Obiri of Kenya, Gidey of Ethiopia and defending champion Sharon Lokedi of Kenya locked in battle through the closing stages in Central Park.
Tola had a point to prove as he had finished just outside the podium places in the 2018 and 2019 New York City Marathons. The 32-year-old had won the 2022 world marathon title in Eugene, too, but had to relinquish his crown in Budapest in August due to stomach problems which caused him to drop out.
After having passed halfway in New York in 62:45 with fellow Ethiopian Jemal Yimer, Abdi Nageeye of Belgium, Zouhair Talbi of Morocco and Albert Korir of Kenya for company, it soon boiled down to just Tola and Yimer before Tola finally cut loose.
Geoffrey Mutai’s course record of 2:05:06 had stood since 2011 on this undulating course and such was the strength of Tola’s finish he almost caught the women despite them setting off 25 minutes ahead of the elite men.
“Thank you to all the people who supported me when I ran,” said Tola, who also became the first Ethiopian to win in New York since Lelisa Desisa in 2018. “I have come to New York for the third time and two times I’ve come fourth but today I have won, so it’s very important to me. I’m very happy, especially after losing my world title this year.”
Yimer eventually faded to ninth in 2:11:31 as Korir finished runner-up in 2:06:57. Shura Kitata of Ethiopia was third in 2:07:11 with Nageeye fourth in 2:10:21, then Koen Naert of Belgium in 2:10:25, Maru Teferi of Israel in 2:10:28, Iliass Aouani of Italy in 2:10:54 and Ed Cheserek of Kenya eighth in 2:11:07 in his debut.
Canadian Cam Levins, one of the favourites, dropped out, as did British debutant Andy Butchart, after he went through halfway in 65:54 but then began to struggle.
Obiri disappointed on her marathon debut 12 months ago when placing only sixth following a stellar career on the track and country. But she stormed to victory at the Boston Marathon in April and has…