Kurt Fearnley claims fifth New York marathon crown in tough conditions
Kurt Fearnley wins fifth New York City Marathon; Wilson Kipsang, Mary Keitany lead Kenyan sweep
Champion Australian wheelchair racer Kurt Fearnley prevailed in a dramatic finish to win his fifth New York Marathon on Monday (AEDT).
Fearnley approached the final kilometre of the race amongst a pack of six riders, but broke free with 100 metres remaining to finish one second clear of South African runner-up Ernst van Dyk in a time of one hour, 30 minutes and 55 seconds.
The 33-year-old said the strong winds that nearly caused the cancellation of this year’s race made it the toughest in recent memory.
“That was one of the toughest races of my life,” Fearnley, who won his first New York marathon in 2009, said.
“This race is the highlight of the schedule every year and the feeling of winning here again is just indescribable.”
The wheelchair athletes competed over a course shortened by 4.8 kilometres for safety reasons as a result of the winds.
Today the marathon gods made us work extra hard which makes the win that little bit sweeter.Kurt Fearnley
“The first 25 kilometres or so were straight into it today which made the going tough.
“The weather is one of those things that’s completely out of your control so you just deal with what gets thrown at you on the day.
“Today the marathon gods made us work extra hard which makes the win that little bit sweeter.”
In the women’s wheelchair event, American Tatyana McFadden completed her second consecutive marathon grand slam, adding New York to her 2014 Boston, London and Chicago titles.
The 25-year-old’s 2013 slam was the first in history.
Kipsang bags bonus as Kenya does NYC double
Wilson Kipsang won a lucrative duel to the finish to join compatriot Mary Keitany in a Kenyan sweep of the men’s and women’s races at a cold, windy race.
Kipsang and Keitany both pulled away in the last Central Park stretch, with Kipsang’s victory bringing him a US$600,000 (A$681,895) payday as the win also gave him the US$500,000 (A$568,246) World Marathon Majors bonus.
“Of course I was thinking about it. My only chance to win the jackpot was to win this race. I was trying to apply all the tactics to make sure I would win,” Kipsang said.
With temperatures around six degrees Celsius and wind gusting to 64 kilometres per hour, some 50,000 runners set off in the world’s largest marathon on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in Staten Island.
My only chance to win the jackpot was to win this race. I was trying to apply all the tactics to make sure I would win.Wilson Kipsang
Conditions led to deliberate, tactical races that did not see the leading packs break up until after the 20-mile mark.
Kipsang, the London Marathon champion running the New York race for the first time, ran shoulder to shoulder with Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia over the last few miles.
Kipsang crossed the finish line in two hours, 10 minutes and 55 seconds to win the race and catapult past compatriot Dennis Kimetto to win the massive bonus.
Desisa, the 2013 Boston Marathon winner, faded at the last and finished 11 seconds behind Kipsang, with fellow Ethiopian Gebre Gebremariam, the 2010 New York champion, third in 2:12:13.
Keitany won an exhilarating duel with compatriot Jemima Sumgong to claim the women’s crown.
The 2012 London Marathon winner, whose best New York showing was third place in 2011, edged ahead of Sumgong late in the race that covers all five New York City boroughs.
Keitany, whose best New York showing was third place in 2011, widened her lead at the end as she crossed the line in 2:25:07, three seconds ahead of Sumgong in tying the closest women’s finish in the New York race.
Tennis player Caroline Wozniacki, who finished her season last week ranked eighth in the world, completed her first marathon in 3:26:33 while running for a charity that benefits youth runners.