NEW YORK — Mary Keitany ran alone for the last 11 miles on Sunday to claim her third consecutive title at the New York City Marathon. It was sweet vengeance for a disappointing marathon season where she finished ninth in London and missed the Rio Olympic team. With the three-peat, she became only the second female runner to do so.
The key moment came at mile 10 where Keitany, fellow Kenyan Joyce Chepkirui, and Ethiopia’s Aselefech Mergia threw down a 5:06 mile to make it a three-woman show. Three miles later, it became a two-woman race as Mergia fell 38 seconds off the lead. As Mergia continued to fade, the American 10,000-meter track star Molly Huddle overtook the Ethiopian near the halfway mark and put herself in third position. (It was quite a statement, as Mergia had been one of only three women in the field who had covered 26.2 miles in less than 2 hours, 20 minutes.) The question was: could Huddle hold on?
After mile 15, it was all Keitany. When she crossed the finish in 2:24:26, she had won New York by three minutes, 34 seconds over Sally Kipyego of Kenya, the 12th largest margin of victory in the 46th running of the New York City Marathon.
Kipyego, who was a nine-time NCAA champion for Texas Tech, crossed the line in 2:28:01 after dropping out last year at mile 23. Huddle placed third in 2:28:13.
In the women’s wheelchair race, Tatyana McFadden earned her fourth consecutive New York City victory in the women’s wheelchair race by a decisive 1 minute, 44 seconds over runner-up, Manuela Schar of Switzerland. For the past four years, McFadden has also been undefeated in London, Boston, and Chicago.
The men’s wheelchair finish came down to a photo finish for the second year in a row. This time, Marcel Hug of Switzerland beat five-time New York City champion Kurt Fearnley of Australia. Already this year, Hug, nicknamed the “the silver bullet,” won marathon majors in Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago – as well as the Rio Olympic marathon.