The hard streets of New York City’s five boroughs are no place for marathon world records, let alone an attempt at a sub-2-hour marathon that can make it into the official record books.
Eliud Kipchoge’s historic 1:59:40 26.2 miler in Vienna in October was the first marathon completed in under 2 hours, but is not recognized as an official record as it was run in controlled conditions and not open competition. Kipchoge’s 2:01:39 run in Berlin in 2018 still stands as the official mark.
Sunday’s 2019 New York City Marathon was a canter in comparison. The early pace in the men’s race was slow, and even the course record of 2:05:56 was never threatened.
Kenya’s Geoffrey Kamworor reclaimed the title he lost last year to Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa. Kamworor finished in 2:08:13, 23 seconds ahead of compatriot Albert Korir. Ethiopa’s Girma Bekele Gebre was third.
Joyciline Jepkosgei, like Kamworor, the half marathon world record holder, made it a Kenyan double, winning the women’s race in 2:23:38 on her marathon debut. At 25 years old, she is the youngest winner since 2001. Her time, a course record for a first-timer, was seven seconds off the course second.
There was no fifth title in six years for her compatriot Mary Keitany, who finished second 53 seconds behind as Jepkosgei pulled away over the final 3 miles.