NEW YORK ― Ethiopian Tamirat Tola crushed the competition to win the 2023 New York City Marathon in a course record two hours, four minutes and 58 seconds, while Kenyan Hellen Obiri won the women’s race in 2:27:23.
The 2022 world champion left no doubt that the win was his as he built a nearly two minute lead by the 40-kilometre mark. Kenyan Albert Korir finished second in 2:06:57, while Ethiopian Shura Kitata was third in 2:07:11.
Competing in perfect conditions, Tola exorcised the disappointment of two prior fourth-place finishes in New York, relying on the boisterous Big Apple crowd for motivation as he ran on his own for several kilometres. “The people of New York (are) amazing,” said Tola, who hoisted his arms aloft as he claimed his first World Marathon Major title after taking third in London earlier this year.
“I work hard training so it is confidence for me,” Tola added according to Reuters.
Obiri produced an extraordinary final kick in the women’s race to outlast Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey, who crossed the finish line about six seconds behind, as last year’s winner, Kenyan Sharon Lokedi, finished third in 2:27:33.
“My first debut here was terrible for me,” said Obiri, after finishing sixth last year. “Sometimes you learn from your mistake… Finally, I made it.”
The star-studded women´s field began at a surprisingly slow pace, as a crowded lead pack kept together through the 30-kilometre mark, before the tempo picked up considerably with less than eight kilometres to go.
The eventual podium finishers were on their own for a three-way sprint through the final 800 metres, where the twice Olympic 5,000 metres silver medallist Obiri relied on her track experience to produce a fast finish.
It was her second major win this year after triumphing in Boston.
Swiss Marcel Hug broke the tape in 1:25:29 in the men´s wheelchair race, picking up a record-extending sixth title in New York, while his compatriot, Catherine Debrunner, won the women’s race in 1:39:32.
The race capped a blockbuster year for the World Marathon Majors in which both the men´s and women´s world records were obliterated.
Kenyan Kelvin Kiptum beat compatriot Eliud Kipchoge’s world record mark in Chicago last month, while Ethiopian Tigst Assefa shattered the women’s record in Berlin in September.