NEW YORK CITY, November 03—Though he may run in the shadow of a celebrated training partner, Geoffrey Kamworor continued to build an impressive résumé of his own with a victory at the 49th TCS New York City Marathon on a cool, crisp morning. Coming off a World Record in the half-marathon in early September, the 26-year-old Kenyan blew the race open in the final 5K to cruise home in 2:08:13. Kamworor, who previously won this race in ’17, was congratulated just steps after the finish line by friend/mentor Eliud Kipchoge, the WR holder and Olympic champion. Said Kamworor, “I was determined for a good result because I didn’t want to disappoint him, and that gave me a lot of motivation.”
Despite ideal conditions, the early pace was cautious. Defending champion Lelisa Desisa dropped out at 7M, not terribly surprising considering he was just 4 weeks removed from his World Championships gold medal. A pack of 15 came through halfway in 1:04:49 and by 17M there were still a dozen in contention.
A critical breakaway came in the 20th mile when Kamworor, fellow Kenyan Albert Korir and Ethiopians Girma Bekele Gebre, Tamirat Tola and Shura Kitata created a smaller lead group. Kitata dropped back 2M later before Kamworor surged ahead 2M after that. Cruising through Central Park, the 5-time world champion (3 in the half marathon and twice in XC), blitzed the 5K between 35K and 40K in 14:14, lengthening his lead with each stride. He broke the tape 23 seconds ahead of Korir (2:08:36 in his third 26-miler of the year).
“From the start of the race I was feeling OK, I was comfortable,” Kamworor said. “Throughout the last few meters the pace was somewhat high, but it wasn’t a problem for me. That’s when I decided to pull away.”
Gebre, who did not start as part of the elite field, was a surprise 3rd in 2:08:38, a PR by more than 5:00. After the race the 26-year-old, who is a fixture of the New York City racing circuit, told reporters that he doesn’t have an agent or a sponsor. Tola (2:09:20), the Olympic 10K bronze medalist in Rio, and Kitata (2:10:39) were next across the line, while Jared Ward (2:10:45) was 5th, the top American finisher. Ageless Abdi Abdirahman, 42, had another solid run in New York, placing 9th in 2:11:34, an American 40-plus best. On the younger end of the spectrum, recent Brigham Young graduate Connor McMillian, 23, finished 10th in 2:12:07, just months after taking 3rd and 4th, respectively, in the NCAA and USATF 10,000s.
Coming off his 2:09:25 PR to finish 8th at Boston in April, the 31-year-old Ward had hoped to sneak onto the podium, but was pleased to have been in the mix through 30K. “I’ve been working on just being confident and brave going into these races and trying to put myself in that lead pack and compete,” he said. “I was glad to be able to run with those guys for two-thirds or three-quarters of the race. When you swing for the fences you set yourself up for a hard last few miles, and that’s why it’s scary to try.”
NYC MARATHON MEN’S RESULTS
1. Geoffrey Kamworor (Ken) 2:08:13 (1:04:50/1:03:23) ($115,000); 2. Albert Korir (Ken) 2:08:36; 3. Girma Bekele Gebre (Eth) 2:08:23 PR; 4. Tamirat Tola (Eth) 2:09:20; 5. Shura Kitata (Eth) 2:10:39; 6. Jared Ward (US) 2:10:45; 7. Stephen Sambu (Ken) 2:11:11; 8. Yoshiki Takenouchi (Jpn) 2:11:18; 9. Abdi Abdirahman (US-42) 2:11:34 (Masters AR); 10. Connor McMillan (US) 2:12:07; 11. Arne Gabius (Ger) 2:12:57; 12. Daniel Mesfun (Eri) 2:13:09; 13. Birhanu Dare Kemal (Eth) 2:13:35; 14. Tyler Pennel (US) 2:14:10; 15. John Raneri (US) 2:14:13 PR; 16. Patricio Castillo (Mex) 2:14:16 (debut); 17. Tadesse Yae (Eth) 2:14:24;
18. Tyler Jermann (US) 2:15:38; 19. Joey Whelan (US) 2:16:10; 20. Louis Serafini (US) 2:16:34 PR; 21. Degefa Deriba (Eth) 2:16:38; 22. Jack Rayner (Aus) 2:16:58; 23. Brett Robinson (Aus) 2:17:50; 24. Craig Leon (US) 2:18:20; 25. Mustafa Mohamed (Swe) 2:19:41; 26. Brendan Martin (US) 2:19:52; 27. Harbert Okuti (Uga) 2:21:06;… 29. Tyler McCandless (US) 2:21:55; 30. Gregory Billington (US) 2:22:28;… 34. Seth DeMoor (US) 2:24:01;… dnf—Mo Hrezi (Lba), Matt McClintock (US), Mizael Carrera (PR), Figa Urgesa (Eth), Andy Veron (GB), Lelisa Desisa (Eth).