Clearcut victories for the Kenyan and Ugandan as Andy Butchart runs a PB in sixth place on a cold and windy day in New York City
Hellen Obiri’s marathon debut in New York City last year did not go to plan as she faded to sixth place in 2:25:49, but the Kenyan bounced back to form in the same city on Sunday (March 19) as she cruised to victory in the NYC Half in a course record of 67:21.
Obiri saw off the challenge of Senbere Teferi, as the Ethiopian finished runner-up in 67:55 with Karoline Grovdal of Norway third in 69:53. After Eilish McColgan withdrew from the race earlier this month to protect a minor knee injury, Jess Warner-Judd was flying the flag for Britain but felt flat during the race and struggled home in 73:28.
“I’m so grateful to have won this race,” Obiri said. “It’s my first half marathon in the US. It was very windy, so I tried to push myself, but after 15km I thought maybe I can make a move and I tried to go, and push the pace. I’m happy to have won this race today.”
Obiri arrived into New York from Kenya but will now travel to altitude in Colorado to continue training with her On Running training group although she has no plans to run a marathon this spring, nor any ambition to step back on to the track. “My future is on the roads,” she confirmed.
Des Linden was the top American female finisher in fifth in 72:21, followed by three-time event champion Molly Huddle, who was seventh in 72:27.
This United Airlines-sponsored event featured nearly 25,000 runners on a course that wound its way from Brooklyn to Manhattan, passing through Times Square to make it the only time other than New Year’s Eve the crossroads of the world is closed to traffic.
Jacob Kiplimo was similarly dominant in the men’s race as he clocked 61:31 to beat fellow Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei, who ran 62:09 as Morocco’s Zouhair Talbi was third in 1:02:18.
Chris Thompson had led the early stages but faded in the final miles to finish 16th in 64:32. However fellow Brit Andy Butchart finished well to slightly improve his PB to 62:58 as he finished sixth.
“From the start to the finish, even though it was a little cold, I did my best,” Kiplimo said. “I think my preparation the last two months helped a lot for this because I was doing two trainings a day preparing for the World Cross Country Championships, plus this half marathon.”
Ben True, the 2018 champion, was the top American finisher in fourth in 62:57.
The wheelchair racing titles meanwhile went to United States’ Susannah Scaroni (55:47) ahead of Manuela Schar and Catherine Debrunner and the Netherlands’ Jetze Plat (48:28) from Daniel Romanchuk and Evan Correll.