Shalane Flanagan became the first American woman to win the New York City Marathon in 40 years when she claimed a dominant victory over Kenyan three-times champion Mary Keitany on Sunday. The men’s title went to Kenyan Geoffrey Kamworor, who held off countryman Wilson Kipsang.
Flanagan, who had never won a major marathon, clocked two hours, 26 minutes 53 seconds for the stunning victory at the age of 36 in what could be her last competitive marathon. Keitany struggled home in 2:27:54 for second with Ethiopia’s
Mamitu Daska third in 2:28:08. “This is the moment I have dreamed off since I was a little girl,” Flanagan said after the race, tears streaming down her face.
“It’s been a tough week for New Yorkers and a tough week for our nation and I thought of what a better gift than to make Americans smile today,” she said, referring to Tuesday’s truck-ramming attack that killed eight in what authorities described as a terrorist act. Thousands of police lined the course as part of heightened security because of the incident. “So I was thinking of other people when it started to hurt,” said Flanagan, the 2008 Olympic 10,000 meters silver medalist.
American women had not won in New York since Miki Gorman claimed her second consecutive title in 1977.
Keitany, winner of this year’s London Marathon and the fastest ever in a women’s only marathon, had been expected to run away with the race but a slow pace allowed Flanagan and others to stay with her early.
When crunch time came it was Flanagan, not Keitany, who dominated, impressively leading the final three miles.