NEW YORK (AP) — Albert Korir of Kenya won the New York City Marathon men’s race Sunday, two years after coming in second.
Korir overtook Morocco’s Mohamed El Aaraby and Italy’s Eyob Faniel around the 18th mile and quickly took the drama out of the race's 50th running. He won in an unofficial time of 2 hours, 8 minutes and 22 seconds.
In the women’s race, Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya pulled away at the entrance to Central Park and became the first woman to win a marathon major in the fall after winning an Olympic gold medal.
The second oldest of the world’s marathon majors returned Sunday after canceling in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The field was cut by about 40% to around 30,000 runners, with efforts made to maintain distance between competitors near the start and finish lines.
It was Korir's first victory in one of the World Marathon Majors and his first time atop any podium since winning the Ottawa Race Weekend Marathon in 2019.
The 27-year-old Korir finished second to Geoffrey Kamworor in 2019 by 23 seconds.
Korir and fellow Kenyan Kibwott Kandie were side by side as they passed El Aaraby and Faniel, but Kandie — the world record holder in the half marathon — fell off in his marathon debut.
El Aaraby held on for an improbable second-place finish after coming in 11th at the Tokyo Olympics. Faniel was third.
Jepchirchir broke away from countrywoman Viola Cheptoo and Ethiopia's Ababel Yeshaneh in the final mile of the race after the trio ran side by side from the Bronx back down through Manhattan.
Jepchirchir, 28, took gold at the Tokyo Olympics marathon in August and came back on a short recovery to win a race once dominated by her hero Mary Keitany, a four-time winner in New York who recently retired from the sport.
Jepchirchir's unofficial time Sunday was 2 hours, 22 minutes, 39 seconds.
Cheptoo finished second in her marathon debut and quickly found her brother, Bernard Lagat, who was broadcasting the race on ESPN. Yeshaneh was third.
Molly Seidel finished fourth in her first race since taking bronze in Tokyo, becoming the first American woman since Deena Kastor in 2004 to earn an Olympic medal.
Marcel Hug of Switzerland won the men’s wheelchair race for the fourth time, finishing more than 6 1/2 minutes ahead of the next racer for his first title since 2017. The 35-year-old, born with spina bifida, added yet another prize to a remarkable year that included four gold medals at the Tokyo Paralympics, including in the marathon. He also won the Boston Marathon last month.
Australia's Madison de Rozario won the women’s wheelchair race, holding off past champions Tatyana McFadden and Manuela Schär for her first Big Apple victory. The 27-year-old, who developed transverse myelitis when she was 4, also took gold at this year's Tokyo Paralympic Marathon.
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Jake Seiner, The Associated Press