Kenyan half marathon world record holders Geoffrey Kamworor and Joycline Jepkosgei powered to victories in the New York City Marathon on Sunday.
Kamworor reclaimed the New York title he won in 2017 in two hours eight minutes and 13 seconds and Jepkosgei surprised four-time champion Mary Keitany, winning her marathon debut in 2:22:38.
The 26 year old Kamworor,took command in the final two miles for the victory over compatriot Albert Korir (2:08:36) and un-sponsored Ethiopian Girma Bekele Gebre (2:08:38).
Kamworor told reporters having his training partner, world fastest marathon runner Eliud Kipchoge, at the finish line added extra motivation.
“I didn’t want to disappoint him,” Kamworor told reporters. “For my start of the race today, I was feeling okay… throughout the race I was okay.
Defending champion Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia dropped out of the race around the seventh-mile mark.
Desisa had been attempting the difficult task of trying to win again just four weeks after claiming the world championship title in the extreme heat of Doha.
Jepkosgei, 25, separated herself from Keitany, the defending champion, with five kilometres to go.
The 37-year-old Keitany, who had won in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018, finished in 2:23:32 with Ethiopian Ruti Aga third in 2:25:51.
Jepkosgei praised Keitany’s experience and told reporters she didn’t believe the win was firmly in her grasp until after she crossed the finish line.
“I didn’t know I’d won it. My focus was to finish the race,” said Jepkosgei. “The strategy which I had planned was to finish the race strong.”
The event attracted more than 52,000 runners.