Kenya’s two-time world 5000m champion Hellen Obiri has revealed how past mistakes pushed her to win the New York Marathon on Sunday.
Obiri sprinted away from Letesenbet Gidey and Sharon Lokedi in Central Park and crossed the finish line in 2:27:23, winning by six seconds. Gidey followed Obiri over the finish line in 2:27:29, while Lokedi was third in 2:27:33, Brigid Kosgei fourth in 2:27:45 and Ngugi-Cooper fifth in 2:27:53.
Kenya’s Lokedi returned to defend her title against a strong field that featured Boston Marathon winner Obiri, 10,000m and half marathon world record-holder Gidey, and former marathon world record-holder Brigid Kosgei, while Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir was a late withdrawal following the leg injury she sustained a week before the race.
There was no clear pre-race favourite and that remained the case right up to the closing stages, with many of the leading contenders locked in a fierce fight after a tactical 26 miles. The pace was conservative in the first half, with a series of surges but no big moves. Eleven of the 14 members of the field remained together at halfway, reached in 1:14:21. It set the scene for a final flurry; with the pace having gradually slowed after 5km was passed by the leaders in 17:23, 10km in 34:35 and 15km in 52:29.
Speaking after the race, Obiri said: “It’s my honour to be here for the second time. My debut here was terrible for me. Sometimes you learn from your mistakes, so I made a lot of mistakes last year and I said I want to try to do my best (this year).”
She added: “It was exciting for me to see Gidey was there. I said this is like track again, like the World Championships in 2022 (when Gidey won the 10,000m ahead of Obiri).”
It was a brilliant return for Obiri, who finished sixth when making her marathon debut in New York last year and who went on to win the Boston Marathon in April. By winning the race, Obiri became the first woman since Ingrid Kristiansen in 1989 to complete the Boston and New York marathon title double in the same year.