NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 3 – World Half Marathon record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei clinched the New York Marathon title on her 42km debut, beating four-time champion Mary Keitany to first position cutting the tape in 2hrs, 22 mins and 38secs.
Jepkosgei pulled away from Keitany with seven kilometres left on the clock and put on the afterburners to go all the way and finish in the second fastest time ever on the streets of New York.
Keitany who had her husband and kids waiting at the finish line finished second, but was still a great achievement for the 37 year old.
Jepkosgei And Keitany, who was seeking a record fifth title in New York had been part of a three-pronged breakaway that led from around the 20km mark alongside Ethiopia’s Ruti Aga.
That trio remained out in front as they advanced into Manhattan after 26km, although Keitany gave the first clue she was struggling after appearing to vomit.
Keitany and Jepkosgei started edging away from Aga by 32km and soon the Ethiopian had been dropped from contention, leaving the battle for the 2019 title to the two Kenyans.
But it would be the World Half Marathon record holder that would draw the first dagger, pulling away slowly from Keitany after both hit the 38km mark shoulder to shoulder.
She soon drifted away, opening up a massive 16-second gap and with two kilometres of the grueling race left, it was evident that only catastrophe would stop her from making a memorable debut over the 42km race.
Finish line in sight, Jepkosgei glanced behind her shoulder and noticing Keitany drifting further and further away knew victory was nigh.
She gave in a burst to the tape and just narrowly missed out on breaking compatriot Margaret Okayo’s Course Record of 2hr 22min 31sec that was heavily billed to be lowered on Sunday afternoon.
“I knew Mary had more experience in marathon, so I was trying to push,” a delighted Jepkosgei said after the win.
“I was very proud to make my debut here in New York. I was not nervous about my debut. Through all the steps I didn’t have any pressure and I was running my own ace. At long last I (have) become a winner. I did not know I would win but I was trying my best to finish strong,” she added.