Ethiopian runner Tamirat Tola set a new record by winning the men’s race at the New York City Marathon. The runner finished in 2 hours, 4 minutes, and 58 seconds, breaking Geoffrey Mutai’s 2011 record of 2:05.06.
According to CNBC, around mile 20, Tola separated himself from fellow countryman Jemal Yimer as they raced toward the Bronx. Tola returned to Manhattan a mile later, having gained 19 seconds on the leader’s pace and only chasing Mutai’s mark.
The thrilled champion raised his arms in joy as he won his first major World Marathon competition, having previously finished fourth in New York twice and third in London earlier this year.
Tola told ESPN, “The people of New York [are] amazing. I work hard training, so it is confidence for me.”
Albert Korir of Kenya, the winner of the 2021 New York City Marathon, finished second, approximately two minutes behind Tola. Tola was awarded $50,000 for smashing the previous course record.
Meanwhile, Kenyan Hellen Obiri won the women’s title after winning the final 400 meters. She adds the New York victory to her Boston Marathon success in April. According to ESPN, Obiri is the only girl to have won both marathons in the same year since Norwegian Ingrid Kristiansen in 1989.
“My first debut here was terrible for me,” remarked Obiri, who finished sixth last year. “Sometimes you learn from your mistakes… Finally, I made it.”
Obiri, Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey, and reigning champion Sharon Lokedi were all running together and trading leads. Obiri pushed up as the group returned to Central Park for the final half-mile, finishing in 2:27.23. Gidey finished second, six seconds later. Lokedi was ten seconds behind Obiri. As they approached Central Park, the three surged away from fourth-place finisher Brigid Kosgei of Kenya.
The women’s race was tactical, with 11 runners, including Americans Kellyn Taylor and Molly Huddle, in the lead pack for the first 20 kilometers. Huddle and Taylor each momentarily led the pack before dropping to seventh and ninth place, respectively.
This exceptional women’s field was expected to shatter Margaret Okayo’s 2003 track record of 2:22:31. The men’s and women’s race winners finished within a few minutes of each other.