Kenya’s Sharon Lokedi was a surprise winner of the women’s New York City Marathon on Sunday, while Evans Chebet won the men’s race to complete a Kenyan double.
Lokedi, competing over the 26.2-mile distance for the first time in her career, pulled away from Israel’s Lonah Chemtai Salpeter in the closing stages, finishing in a time of two hours, 23 minutes and 23 seconds.
Salpeter finished seven seconds back in second and Ethiopia’s Gotytom Gebreslase, who was crowned marathon world champion earlier this year, was third.
Hellen Obiri, making her marathon debut and one of the pre-race favorites, struggled in the closing stages and dropped back from the lead pack, eventually finishing sixth.
The 28-year-old Lokedi is just the eighth athlete in history – male or female – to win in New York on her marathon debut, and she appeared visibly emotional after crossing the finish line in Central Park.
“I’m out of words, I’m really excited … The course was Unbelievable, the cheers, everything,” she told ESPN. “I’m just thankful”
In the men’s race, Chebet became the first man to win the New York City and Boston Marathons in the same year since 2011 as he finished in two hours, eight minutes and 41 seconds, 13 seconds ahead of Ethiopia’s Shura Kitata, while the Netherlands’ Abdi Nageeye was more than a minute back in third.
Chebet’s victory means Kenyan men have won all six of the major city marathons this year. As well as Chebet’s title in Boston, Eliud Kipchoge won in Tokyo and Berlin, Amos Kipruto won in London and Benson Kipruto won in Chicago.
There were challenging conditions for Sunday’s race as temperatures in New York City hovered around 23 degrees Celsius (73 degrees Farenheit).
Brazilian Daniel Do Nascimento led the field for much of the men’s race, but he collapsed to the floor and received medical attention in the final stages, handing Chebet the lead.
Race officials later told CNN that Do Nascimento was okay after dropping out of the race.
It’s expected that 50,000 runners competed in this year’s NYC Marathon – the first full-capacity race since the Covid-19 pandemic.
The race, which goes through all five of New York City’s boroughs, was held virtually in 2020 and with a restricted number of competitors in 2021.
In the men’s race of the wheelchair division, Switzerland’s Marcel Hug claimed the fifth NYC Marathon title of his career in the men’s race.
The 36-year-old – known as the “Swiss Silver Bullet” – shattered the wheelchair course record by nearly four minutes, finishing in one hour, 25 minutes and 25 seconds.
That beat Australian Kurt Fearnley’s record of 1:29:22 set in 2006.
American Susannah Scaroni also set a course record in the women’s race, finishing in one hour, 42 minutes and 43 seconds to Fracture Tatyana McFadden’s previous record.