Tamirat Tola of Ethiopia set a course record to win the New York City Marathon men’s race on Sunday while Hellen Obiri of Kenya pulled away in the final 400 meters to take the women’s title. Tola finished in 2hr 4min 58sec, topping the 2:05:06 set by Geoffrey Mutai in 2011. Tola pulled away from his compatriot Jemal Yimer when the pair were heading towards the Bronx at mile 20. By the time he headed back into Manhattan a mile later he was up by 19sec and chasing Mutai’s mark.
While the men’s race was effectively decided before the last few miles, the women’s race came down to the stretch. Obiri, Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia and the defending champion, Sharon Lokedi, took turns in the lead. But Obiri, the Boston Marathon winner in April, made a move as the trio headed back into Central Park for the final half-mile and finished in 2:27:23. Gidey finished second, six seconds behind.
This was a stellar women’s field that was expected to potentially take down the course record of 2:22:31 set by Margaret Okayo in 2003. Unlike last year when the weather was unseasonably warm, Sunday’s race was much cooler – ideal conditions for record-breaking times.
Switzerland dominated the wheelchair races, with Marcel Hug and Catherine Debrunner winning the men’s and women’s events respectively. Debrunner set a course record of 1:39:32, earning herself a $50,000 bonus on her New York City Marathon debut. Hug won the title for a record sixth time.