By Jorge Fuentelsaz
New York, Nov 6 (EFE).- Kenyan long-distance runners Evans Chebet and Sharon Lokedi won the New York Marathon on Sunday in the men’s and women’s categories, respectively, crossing the finish line before more than 50,000 other runners in one of the world’s most famous races.
Chebet, 33, finished the 42-kilometer (26-mile) race with a time of 2 hours 8 minutes and 41 seconds, while Lokedi turned in a time of 2 hours 23 minutes and 23 seconds.
Brazil’s Daniel Do Nascimento, 24, was out in front in the men’s category right from the start, building up an advantage of more than two minutes over his closest followers, a small group of eight athletes including Chebet and his countryman Albert Korir, along with Ethiopia’s Shura Kitata and American Galen Rupp.
But at Kilometer 25, Chebet – who had been considered one of the favorites in the race – began to pick up the pace, breaking out of the group following Do Nascimento and closing the gap on the Brazilian.
Do Nascimento, making his debut in the New York Marathon, relinquished the lead after a more than an hour and forty minutes after having started to show clear signs of exhaustion and dizziness, although he did not drop out of the race.
However, shortly thereafter he did collapse, falling to the ground, where he was immediately attended to by race medical personnel while Chebet passed him and ultimately crossed the finish line all alone, albeit followed by Kitata (2:08:54) and Dutch runner Abdi Negeeye (2:20:31).
Meanwhile, the 28-year-old Lokedi, running for the first time in the New York race, crossed the finish line ahead of Israel’s Lonah Chemtai Saltpeter (2:23:30), Ethiopia’s Gotytom Gebreslase (2:23:39) and Kenyan Edna Kiplagat (2:24:16), all of whom were among the favorites in the women’s category.
Up until Kilometer 30, a small group of runners kept the same pace until Kenyans Hellen Obiri and Viola Cheptoo, along with Ethiopia’s Gotytom Gebreslase, broke away and tried to create some distance from the pack.
Lokedi, who ran the final stretch of the race with Saltpeter, managed to leave her challengers behind during the last two kilometers and crossed the finish line alone.
After winning, Lokedi expressed her happiness and her thanks for the encouragement she had received during the 42 kilometers of the race, adding that she was very pleased with her time, having expected it to be much colder on Sunday although the temperature was an unusually warm 23 C (73 F).
This year, besides the wheelchair category, the marathon organization included a prize for non-binary athletes, a category in which 62 runners registered.
The New York Marathon is one of the “six majors,” considered to be the world’s six best marathons, which include the races in Boston, Chicago, London, Tokyo and Berlin.
Since it was launched in 1970, the New York Marathon has seen the number of competitors rise year after year, with runners coming from all over the world to run the course that extends through New York’s five boroughs of Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and Manhattan.
After the race was not held for two years due to the coronavirus pandemic, last year it was resumed with just 30,000 runners, due to security measures to prevent it from becoming a Covid-19 mass infection event.
This year, it seemed to have regained its former excitement, with thousands of spectators cramming the racecourse to applaud and provide encouragement to the runners.
To entertain the public, musical groups had set themselves up along the racecourse, with the festivities kicking off at 8 am with the start of the wheelchair competition, in which Switzerland’s Marcel Hug won in the men’s category with a time of 1:25:26, breaking the 2006 record set of 1:29:22 by Australia’s Kurt Fearnley, and US racer Susana Scaroni won in the women’s category with a time of 1:42:43, setting a new record over fellow American Tatyana McFadden’s, set in 2015.