USA’s Shalane Flanagan, Kenya’s Geoffrey Kamworor, and Switzerland’s Marcel Hug and Manuela Schär Win 2017 TCS New York City Marathon
The USA’s Shalane Flanagan ended a 40-year drought for American women in the open division at the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 5, while Kenya’s Geoffrey Kamworor took the men’s title and Marcel Hug and Manuela Schär completed a Swiss sweep in the wheelchair division.
Flanagan, an NYRR Team for Kids Ambassador who finished as the runner-up at the 2010 New York City Marathon, seized the crown from Kenya’s Mary Keitany with a time of 2:26:53.
The 36-year-old became the first U.S. female runner to win the world’s largest marathon since Miki Gorman in 1977. With her first victory in just her second appearance at the New York City Marathon, she became the sixth U.S. women’s champion in the event and recorded the second-fastest time by a U.S. woman after Kara Goucher.
“I've dreamed of a moment like this since I was a little girl,” Flanagan said through tears after the race. “So this means a lot to me, to my family and hopefully inspires the next generation of American women to just be patient. These are the moments that we dream of as athletes, and this is going to feel good for a really long time.”
The 16-time national champion and Olympic silver medalist was visibly emotional as she approached the finish line.
Keitany, who finished with a time of 2:27:54, was chasing history of her own. The 35-year-old was attempting to join Grete Waitz as the only woman to win at least four New York City Marathons in a row.
Ethiopia’s Mamitu Daska placed third with a time of 2:28:08.
Kamworor claimed his first major marathon victory when he held off compatriot Wilson Kipsang down the final turns in Central Park.
The 2015 New York City runner-up, Kamworor, 24, separated himself from the field with a 4:31 penultimate mile to finish in 2:10:53. Kipsang finished soon after in 2:10:56, while Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia took third in 2:11:32.
“2015 was my first time running the TCS New York City Marathon, and I found the course very exciting and very nice,” Kamworor said. “There are many people to cheer on, so it keeps a lot of motivation. So for me today, I knew that it's really a nice course, and I knew that there's enough support.
"For me, I knew that I had made a decisive move, and I was focusing on the finish line. But when I look at the camera, I saw someone was coming, which was Wilson, and I had to believe in myself because I was holding out for the finish. So I had to do my best to make sure that I won.”
Marathon legend and NYRR Team for Kids Ambassador Meb Keflezighi, the only person to have won the New York City Marathon, Boston Marathon, and an Olympic medal, finished 11th in the 26th and final marathon of his professional career.
“It was a beautiful victory lap, you could say, to be up at the front and mix it up with all the great runners that New York runners provide here and set the stage for us," Keflezighi said. “I gave it all that I had today. New York came out to support me, all the runners, 50,000 deep. I was honored to be here and to get this special medal, number 26.”
Earlier in the day, for the first time in five years, change has arrived atop the women’s professional wheelchair podium.
Switzerland’s Schär was the first person to cross the finish line, ending American Tatyana McFadden’s streak of four consecutive victories at the event. Schär’s time of 1:48:09 gave her a fourth major marathon victory this year; she already won in Boston, London, and Berlin.
“I actually had a different plan this morning," Schär said. "I decided not to be more patient than I was in races before so I wouldn't lose too much energy before the hills. Something pushed me, though, so I just tried to attack, and I attacked strong. So I think that was the key today.”
Schär had finished runner-up three years in New York before finally upending McFadden, who finished in 1:51:02.
“I really need a moment, because this is just too much right now. It's just amazing, and I'm more happy because it's the last race of the season and it's New York. I mean, what would you want more? It's been the perfect year.”
American Amanda McGrory, a seven-time Paralympic medalist who won two New York City Marathons previously, finished third in 1:53:11.
Last year’s men’s wheelchair race was decided by a whisker. Someone had to alert Marcel Hug after the race that he had won. On Sunday, the “Swiss Silver Bullet” took first with plenty of time to spare, finishing in 1:37:21 to claim his second consecutive victory and third in five years in New York. The victory marks his fourth major win of the year, having already won in Boston, Berlin, and Chicago.
“It's amazing,” Hug said. “It was my last race this year, and to finish a season like that is just amazing.”
John Charles Smith of Great Britain finished in second with a time of 1:39:40–2:19 seconds behind Hug.
With the Swiss sweep, Schär and Hug represent the first time in the history of the wheelchair division that two people from the same country have been champions.
"I always wonder, when I cross the finish line, ‘Who won the men's race?” Schär said. "To hear that it's Marcel from Switzerland, it makes it sweeter.”