ATHLETICS: First-timer Jepkosgei stuns Keitany in New York City Marathon; Kamworor wins easily

Kenya's Joyciline Jepkosgei, upset winner of the New York City Marathon

The story of the TCS New York City Marathon was supposed to be Kenyan Mary Keitany’s run to a fifth title. But no one can ever account for wild cards … like stars at other distances running their first marathon.

The women’s race was down to five by the halfway mark, with Keitany running easily with Ethiopia’s Ruti Aga, Nancy Kiprop (KEN), American Des Linden and first-time marathoner Joyciline Jepkosgei of Kenya, at 1:11:39.

By 25 km, it was down to Jepkosgei, Aga and Keitany, but Aga dropped back shortly thereafter. The two Kenyans ran together for a while, but Jepkosgei broke away at 22 1/2 miles and ran solo to the finish, winning her debut in one of the world’s legendary races.

Jepkosgei, 25, completed a New York double as she also won the 2019 New York City Half Marathon and is hardly unknown. She is the Half Marathon world-record holder at 64:51 from 2017 and was the silver winner in the 2018 World Half Marathon Championships.

She simply had more left once the running got serious and moved away from Keitany, who finished second for the second time in the last three years. Keitany also continued her record of medals in this race: she’s now 8-for-8 with four wins, two silvers and two bronzes.

Jepkosgei finished in 2:22:38, just seven seconds off of Kenyan Margaret Okayo’s course record from 2003.

The men’s race was another blow-out at the end. A large group run through the half in 1:04:50, but it was down to five by 20 miles, with the expected stars in front: Kenyans Geoffrey Kamworor and Albert Korir and Ethiopians Tamirat Tola, Shura Kitata and Girma Bekele Gebre, who was not part of the elite field and started the race in the non-elite section!

Kamworor, the 2017 winner, looked easy and loped along with this pack, with Kitata the first to break at 22 miles. At mile 23, Kamworor decided to end the suspense and moved strongly, dropping Tola first and then taking an increasing lead over Korir and Gebre.

He wasn’t challenged and finished by waving to the crowd at the finish line in 2:08:13, 23 seconds ahead of Korir, with Gebre third. The Ethiopian’s accomplishment was underscored by his time of 2:08:38, a personal best by more than four minutes from his 2:13:02 in 2015! He had finished 19th in this race in 2018 (2:18:18)!

Kamworor ran the second half of the race in 63:23 and looked like he could have run much faster. He was greeted at the finish by his training partner (and world-record holder) Eliud Kipchoge and claimed his third straight medal in New York. For his career, Kamworor has now run nine marathons and won a medal in six.

Prize money for the professionals was $100,000-60,000-40,000-25,000-15,000-10,000-7,500-5,000-2,500-2,000 for the top 10 men and women ($534,000) total. The top U.S. finishers won added bonuses of $25,000-15,000-10,000-5,000-3,000 ($116,000 total).

Kamworor also won a time bonus of $15,000 for finishing under 2:09, as did Korir and Gebre. Joskepgei won a $45,000 bonus for her near-course record and was the big money-winner on the day. Keitany got $35,000 for her second-place 2:23:32 and Aga – who made a nice comeback after dropping out of the too-hot World Championships marathon – collected an extra $15,000 for her 2:25:51. Summaries:

World Marathon Majors/New York City Marathon
New York, New York (USA) ~ 3 November 2019
(Full results here)

Men: 1. Geoffrey Kamworor (KEN), 2:08:13; 2. Albert Korir (KEN), 2:08:36; 3. Girma Bekele Gebre (ETH), 2:08:38; 4. Tamirat Tola (ETH), 2:09:20; 5. Shura Kitata (ETH), 2:10:39; 6. Jared Ward (USA), 2:10:45; 7. Stephen Sambu (KEN), 2:11:11; 8. Yoshiki Takenouchi (JPN), 2:11:18; 9. Abdi Abdirahman (USA), 2:11:34; 10. Connor McMillan (USA), 2:12:07.

Women: 1. Joyciline Jepkosgei (KEN), 2:22:38; 2. Mary Keitany (KEN), 2:23:32; 3. Ruti Aga (ETH), 2:25:51; 4. Nancy Kiprop (KEN), 2:26:21; 5. Sinead Diver (AUS), 2:26:23; 6. Des Linden (USA), 2:26:46; 7. Kellyn Taylor (USA), 2:26:52; 8. Ellie Pashley (AUS), 2:27:07; 9. Belaynesh Fikadu (ETH), 2:27:27; 10. Mary Ngugi (KEN), 2:27:36.