Evans Chebet completed a brilliant Kenyan clean sweep of the world’s major marathons on Sunday with a superb victory in the New York marathon as compatriot Sharon Lokedi took the women’s crown in her first race over the distance.
Chebet — who also won the Boston Marathon in April — patiently waited for Brazilian front-runner Daniel do Nascimento to implode before hitting the front at the 20 mile mark.
The 33-year-old looked in total control over the closing stages, holding off the challenge of Ethiopia’s Shura Kitata comfortably to win in a time of 2hr 08min 41sec.
Kitata trailed home in second place, 13 seconds adrift of the lead, while Abdi Nageeye of the Netherlands was third.
Chebet’s win means Kenyan runners have won all six of this year’s major marathons — the first time that has happened since the circuit expanded in 2013 with the addition of the Tokyo Marathon.
“Boston was actually harder but it was good preparation for the win in New York,” Chebet told ESPN through an interpreter following his win.
The men’s race had seen a dramatic start with Brazil’s do Nascimento surging clear of the field early on in what always looked like an unsustainable pace.
The 24-year-old from Sao Paulo crossed halfway in a blistering pace of 1:01:22 — putting him firmly on track for a course record.
Yet although he led by more than two minutes at the 15-mile mark, he began to slow as Chebet separated himself from the chasing pack to set off in pursuit.
Do Nascimento took a portable toilet break at the 18-mile mark which cost him 18 seconds and then cracked in the 20th mile, stopping and walking before collapsing to the ground where he required treatment from paramedics.
Chebet passed the Brazilian as he lay stricken and never looked back to seal victory, becoming the first man to win the Boston and New York Marathons in the same season since 2011.
As well as the sweep of the men’s races, Chebet’s victory also completed a Kenyan double in New York after debutant Lokedi took the women’s race.
Lokedi produced a superb tactical performance to win in a time of 2:23:23.
The 28-year-old bided her time after breaking away alongside 2022 world champion Gotytom Gebreslase of Ethiopia and world championships bronze medallist Lonah Salpeter of Israel with a few miles to go.
After Gebreslase was dropped going through Central Park it became a duel between Lokedi and Salpeter.
Lokedi ramped up the pace in the final mile to build a gap of around 20 meters before surging home to take the tape.
“I’m just out of words, so happy, really excited — I just won,” Lokedi said afterwards.
“I don’t even know what to say. So happy that I did it here — it’s just a great day, great race. The course was amazing, the cheers, everything, I’m just thankful.”
Salpeter finished second in 2:23:30 with Gebreslase taking third place.
This year’s New York Marathon is the first time the race has been held at full capacity since 2019, with an estimated 50,000 runners taking part.
The race was scrapped in 2020 due to the pandemic and downsized significantly in 2021.