Setting a course record in this year’s Boston Marathon, it was more of the same for marathon sprinter Geoffrey Mutai, who set a new course record in the 2011 ING New York City Marathon. Crossing the finish line in 2 hours, 5 minutes and 6 seconds, the 30-year-old Kenyan sprinter shattered the previous record by more than two minutes.
The decade-old record, a mark of 2:07:43 set by Tesfaye Jifar of Ethiopia in 2001, was shattered not just by Mutai but by the second and third place finishers. Mutai was trailed close behind by fellow Kenyan (but unrelated) Emmanuel Mutai, who crossed the line just over a minute later at 2:06.28. Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia, came in third place with a time of 2:07.12. Each of the three will receive an extra $70,000 on top of their winnings for breaking the course record.
Geoffrey Mutai showed a strong but steady pace right out of the gate, using a late kick to obliterate the course record and pull more than a minute ahead of his challengers. Mutai set the Boston Marathon record in 2011, as well, finishing in 2:03.02, though his record didn’t count as the course is considered too straight and downhill. But his double-record year puts him as the favorite for the 2012 London Olympics.
Firehiwot Dado was the first to cross the finish line in the women’s race. The 27-year-old Ethiopian bounded past favorite Mary Keitany in the last two miles of the race. Crossing the finish line in 2:23.15, Dado bounded past Keitany who held a two-and-a-half minute lead at the halfway mark. Keitany, this year’s London Marathon winner, passed the halfway mark at 1:07.56, a record-setting pace, but she was unable to manage the breakneck speed to cross the finish line first. Keitany repeated her 2010 performance, taking third place just 23 seconds after Dado. Fellow Ethiopian Buzunesh Deba, a New York favorite, came in second.
On a picture-perfect, gorgeous Fall day, a lack of wind and pleasant conditions propelled runners ever faster toward the finish line. More than 47,107 entrants were slated to run the race through New York City’s five boroughs. A sunny Sunday with temperatures in the low 40s brought spectators to all corners of the course to cheer on racers.