NEW YORK – Youth crushed experience in the men’s race at the New York City Marathon on Sunday.
Eight days before his 21st birthday, marathon world champion Ghirmay Ghebreslassie of Eritrea tore away from Kenya’s Lucas Rotich and Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa at mile 20 and held on for victory in his debut on the five-borough course.
Ghebreslassie is the youngest male winner of the race, finishing in 2:07:51, a full minute ahead of runner-up Lucas Rotich of Kenya.
Ghebreslassie had placed fourth at the Rio Olympic marathon this summer, and fourth at the London Marathon this spring where he ran his personal best 2:07:46.
The men’s race was guaranteed a new champion when the 2015 winner Stanley Biwott of Kenya dropped out at mile 10 with a right calf injury. (Biwott also dropped out of the Rio Olympic marathon this summer after a mix-up with his teammate’s water bottle left him with debilitating stomach pain and unable to continue around the 20-mile mark.)
Hometown fans were thrilled to see two Americans running with the leaders through the first 11 miles — Abdi Abdirahman and Dathan Ritzenhein — but it became a three-man race by the 12½-mile mark, with Desisa, Ghebreslassie, and Rotich leading the way. Ritzenhein, the 33-year-old Michigan resident, dropped out at mile 19 with a right heel injury. Lelisa dropped out at mile 22.
Abdirahman finished third, in an unofficial time of 2:11:23, at age 39.