East African runners excel on track, scooping NYC Maraton’s first prize



Special to the Outlook

Eritrea’s Ghirmay Ghebreslassie and Kenya’s Mary Keitany won the New York City Marathon Sunday, with Keitany becoming the first woman to win three straight titles in more than three decades.

The 19-year-old Ghebreslassie — the youngest-ever male winner in the contest — finished his first race in New York with a time of 2:07:51, capping what amounted to a three-man race that included Kenya’s Lucas Rotich and Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa. Ghebreslassie began gradually pulling away at the 20-mile marker, beating Rotich by 62 seconds. American Abdi Abdirahman finished third, after Desisa dropped out at mile 22.

Keitany, 34, is the first woman to win three New York City marathons in a row since Grete Waitz won five from 1982 to 1986. She also took first place in the London marathon of 2011 and 2012.
Second place went to 2012 Olympic silver medallist Sally Kipyego, also of Kenya, in a time of 2:28:01, while American Molly Huddle was third in 2:28:13

Keitany was not part of Kenya’s 2016 Olympic Games team in Rio earlier this year, as she was dropped due to a collision in the London Marathon that saw her lose out on a top placing there.
This victory proves that she should have been considered for a spot on the team, though perhaps being able to focus on international marathons rather than Rio allowed her to better prepare for New York.

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