NEW YORK CITY, November 05 — Ten weeks after dropping out of the World Championships race, Tamirat Tola got the redemption he was looking for with an emphatic victory in the TCS New York City Marathon, breaking a course record that had stood for 12 years. The 32-year-old Ethiopian, gold medalist at the ’22 Worlds, made a decisive move in the 20th mile to turn the race into a one-man show.
The opening tempo didn’t suggest a record was on tap. In near-perfect conditions (start-time temperatures at 53°F/12C with bright sunshine and little wind), a large pack hit 5K in 15:28 and 10K in 30:36. (NYC famously never uses pacesetters.)
In addition to Tola, the field included Ethiopians Shura Kitata, runner-up here in 2022 and ’18, and Jemal Yimer; Olympic silver medalist Abdi Nageeye of the Netherlands; Kenya’s Albert Korir, NYC winner in ’21; Israel’s Maru Teferi, the silver medalist in Budapest; Canadian record holder Cam Levins; and Kenyan Edward Cheserek, a 17-time NCAA champion at Oregon who was making his marathon debut.
Tola, Korir, Nageeye, Yimer, Kitata and Morocco’s Zouhari Taibi soon broke clear of the field, hitting 15K in 45:04 off a brisk 14:26 segment. Levins and Cheserek were in the chase pack, 5–6 seconds back. (Levins would soon drop out, posting on social media that he “felt real crummy from the start.”)
Kitata began to lose contact, and at halfway (1:02:45 for the leading 5), Geoffrey Mutai’s 2011 course record (2:05:06) started to seem attainable.
As the pace continued to quicken, runners began to drop back one-by-one, first Nageeye, then Taibi, then Korir. Tola and Yimer covered the 17th mile in 4:28 to set up a two-man duel. They split 14:07 for the 5K from 25K to 30K and led Korir by 26 seconds. In the 20th mile, going over the Willis Avenue Bridge from Manhattan into the Bronx, Tola made the pivotal move to pull away from Yimer. He continued to hammer out miles in the 4:40–4:50 range, seeing his lead grow to 33 seconds at 35K.
“The people of New York were amazing to give me moral support every kilometer,” said Tola of the crowds lined along the streets, his only company over the final miles. “It’s a lot of kilometers to do alone, but I work hard training, so there was confidence for me.”
Behind him, Korir rallied to move ahead of Yimer and into 2nd, but by 40K he was an insurmountable 1:58 behind Tola. Yimer faded badly from there and would finish 9th in 2:11:31.
Tola’s pace slowed a bit in the final miles (5:03 for the 24th, 4:57 for the 25th), but he was never in danger, coming home in 2:04:58, slicing 8 seconds off Mutai’s CR.
“Now I’m happy,” he said, a nod to his two previous 4th-place finishes in New York, in 2018 and ’19. He scored a $150,000 payday — $100K for the win, plus a $50K bonus for the course record.
Though disappointed with his DNF at Worlds, Tola knew he still had a good marathon in his legs. “In Budapest, what happened was a stomach problem, but not my conditioning,” he said. “Everything was OK. So we continued training with my coach to think how can we get to win back in New York.”
Korir (2:06:57 PR) held the runner-up spot followed by Kitata (2:07:11), Nageeye (2:10:21) and Belgium’s Koen Naert (2:10:25). Cheserek (2:11:07) placed 8th and Futsum Zienasellassie (2:12:09) was the top American, 10th overall and one spot ahead of countryman Elkanah Kibet (2:12:23).
“What New York provides in terms of the course terrain and just those bridges, I went out at a pace that I haven’t done in my past two marathons,” said Zienasellassie, who now turns his focus to February’s Olympic Trials. “So today I think I really learned what 26 miles, what a marathon, is.”
NEW YORK MEN’S RESULTS
1. Tamirat Tola’ (Eth) 2:04:58 (course record—old cr 2:05:06 Geoffrey Mutai [Ken] 2011) (15:29, 15:11 [30:40], 14:24 [45:04], 14:30 [59:34], 14:41 [1:14:15], 14:07 [1:28:22], 14:29 [1:42:51], 15:17 [1:58:08], 6:50) (1:02:45/1:02:13) ($150,000); 2. Albert Korir’ (Ken) 2:06:57 PR; 3. Shura Kitata’ (Eth) 2:07:11; 4. Abdi Nageeye’ (Neth) 2:10:21; 5. Koen Naert’ (Bel) 2:10:25; 6. Maru Teferi’ (Isr) 2:10:28; 7. Iliass Aouani’ (Ita) 2:10:54; 8. Edward Cheserek’ (Ken) 2:11:07 PR; 9. Jemal Yimer’ (Eth) 2:11:31; 10. Futsum Zienasellassie (HokaNnAz) 2:12:09;
11. Elkanah Kibet (Asics) 2:12:23; 12. Hendrik Pfeiffer’ (Ger) 2:12:53; 13. Sydney Gidabuday (RootsR) 2:14:34 PR; 14. Nathan Martin (unat) 2:16:16; 15. Erenjia Jia’ (Chn) 2:16:50; 16. Joe Whelan (unat) 2:17:32; 17. Garrett Lee (unat) 2:18:35; 18. Ryan Root (RootsR) 2:19:20; 19. Wesley Robinson (unat) 2:20:23 PR; 20. Thomas Slattery (unat) 2:20:45;… dnf—Andrew Butchart’ (GB), Reed Fischer (adi), Cam Levins’ (Can), John Raneri (McKirdy), Zouhair Talbi’ (Mor).