Fabulous marathon debut for Joyciline Jepkosgei in New York
The elite women's race set off first from Staten Island, one of the five Boroughs traversed in the 49th TCS New York Marathon, to the inimitable strains of New York, New York by Ol' Blue Eyes himself. Yes, the biggest and arguably best of the big city marathons rolled back into the 'Big Apple' on Sunday (3 November).
The elite men and more than 52,000 in the masses followed half an hour later. Both defending champions put their reputations on the start line as New York was once again one of the Abbott World Marathon Majors. Conditions were perfect, cool with clear blue skies and a light breeze.
USA's Desiree Linden was the early women's leader over the spectacular Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, taking athletes to the highest point on the course at 198m, while defending champion Mary Keitany (Kenya) was in no hurry in her quest for a fifth title.
Linden lasted until around halfway as Keitany, world half marathon record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei and Ethiopia's Ruti Aga broke clear of the pack, moving at close to course record pace, with Aga next to fall away.
The smart money was on Keitany adding to her four previous victories but it was Jepkosgei (2:22:38) who powered clear in the closing stages to record the second fastest time in New York Marathon history. Keitany and Aga were ultimately spectators, unable to do anything to prevent victory going to the 26-year-old Kenyan in her marathon debut.
The men's race was notable for the early withdrawal of title holder Lelisa Desisa (Ethiopia), apparently not fully recovered from his exertions in the searing heat of the Doha World Championships, a race he had won with a blistering sprint finish.
With Desisa out of the equation it was new men's world half marathon record holder Geoffrey Kamworor (Kenya) who seemed to be dictating the pace, gesturing to the pack if they were in danger of clipping his heels. Kamworor (2:08:13) stayed strong for his second New York victory from fellow Kenyan Albert Korir.
Images courtesy TCS New York City Marathon on Twitter