FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Meb Wins ING New York City Marathon, Leads 6 Americans In Top 10
NEW YORK - Proudly pointing to the bold "USA" written across his singlet
and giving thumbs up to the Central Park crowd, Meb Keflezighi on Sunday
became the first American man since 1982 to cross the finish line first at
the ING New York City Marathon. He was joined by five additional American
men in the top 10 in a banner day for US. men's distance running.
The 2004 Olympic silver medalist ran a brilliant strategic race, pulling
away from four-time Boston Marathon Champion Robert Cheruiyot of Kenya in
the final two miles to win in a personal-best time of 2:09:15. After
finishing, he dropped down for a push-up and broke into tears before being
greeted by his mother, wife and two daughters. "The memory of Ryan Shay is
what I cried for," Meb said, referring to his American teammate who died in
Central Park while running the Olympic Trials two years ago, the last time
Meb ran in New York.
The win gave Keflezighi the USA marathon championship and his fourth
national title of 2009, and he became the first American man to win in New
York since Alberto Salazar's 1982 victory in 2:09:29. He earned a total
prize-money payday of $170,000, including $130,000 for the overall win and
an additional $40,000 for the U.S. title. He also finished atop the USA
Running Series rankings for 2009, earning an additional $6,000.
In one of the strongest men's fields ever in New York, Cheruiyot placed
second, 41 seconds back in 2:09:56, with Olympic silver medalist and
two-time world champion Jaouad Gharib of Morocco third in 2:10:25. In
total, Sunday's field included 14 men with personal bests under 2:10,
including two-time New York champion Marilson Gomes dos Santos and 2004
champion Hendrick Ramaala.
Ryan Hall placed fourth overall in 2:10:36 to take second in the USA
championship race, with Jorge Torres 7th overall in his marathon debut, in
2:13:00. Among Americans, Nick Arciniaga was eighth overall in 2:13:46,
Abdi Abdirahman ninth in 2:14:00 and Jason Lehmkuhle 10th in 2:14:39,
putting six Americans in the top 10 for the first time since 1979.
"It's a great day for American running and for USA Track & Field," said
USATF CEO Doug Logan. "Based on the consistent upswing in our long-distance
performances, we knew it would only be a matter of time until our men won
another major marathon. We applaud Meb, and all our athletes today, for a
great race. I promise that we will not have to wait 27 years for another
The men's lead pack went out at a modest pace, running a roughly 5:10 per
mile for the first two miles. As the pace gradually quickened, five
Americans stayed with the lead pack - Meb, Hall, Torres, Abdirahman and
Bolota Asmerom. Meb and Hall led the pack through 11 miles in 54:38 as
Abderrahime Bouramdane of Morocco, the 2008 Boston Marathon runner-up,
threw in periodic surges that eventually were covered by the pack.
Coming onto Manhattan's First Avenue, at 16 miles, Ramaala led a break of
four men that quickly returned to a 10-man pack. Abdirahman briefly took
the lead in the 17th mile, after which point the lead pack began to string
A 4:37 split for mile 18 whittled the lead group to six, with Meb the lone
American as Abdi, Hall and Torres fell back to eighth, ninth and 10th. Past
30 km, it became a four-man race, with Cheruiyot, Bouramdane, Meb and James
Kwambai of Kenya, Cheruiyot's training partner and a past runner-up at
Berlin, Boston and Rotterdam.
Meb made his move at 35 km, covered in 1:47:20, with only Cheruiyuot
following him. The two men first ran shoulder-to-shoulder before Meb
tucked in behind the tall Kenyan. A few minutes later, Cheruiyot motioned
for Meb to take leading duties, but the experienced American wasn't having
Having placed second in New York in 2004 and third in 2005, Meb was running
for the win.
When he moved to the lead at mile 24, reached in 1:58:23, he intended not
to relinquish it. He had four seconds on Cheruiyot, and that margin only
increased as the finish neared.
Running alone for the final stretch in Central Park, Keflezighi celebrated
his first career victory at the marathon distance, paid tribute to Shay,
and celebrated the return of Americans to the top of the podium.
Tulu wins women's race
In a race that was expected to be little more than another coronation for
world record holder Paula Radcliffe, Ethiopia's Derartu Tulu emerged a
surprise winner. With a conservative pace from the gun, the women's lead
pack eventually whittled down to Christelle Daunay of France, Ludmila
Petrova of Russia, Radcliffe and Tulu. It was a quartet of experience, with
all four women over 34: Daunay is 34, Radcliffe 35, Tulu 37 and Petrova 41.
Struggling with tendonitis behind her knee , Radcliffe began to flag in the
final miles, and it came down to a two-woman race between Petrova and Tulu,
a two-time Olympic gold medalist and one-time bronze medalist at 10,000
meters. Shortly before turning into Central Park, with about 600 meters
remaining, Tulu pulled away to win in 2:28:52, with Petrova second in
2:29:00 and Daunay third in 2:19:16. Radcliffe was fourth in 2:29:27.
Magdalena Lewy Boulet was the top American woman, placing sixth in 2:32:17.
Joan Benoit Samuelson on Sunday became the fastest female marathoner over
age 50, finishing in 2:49:09. The 52-year-old's performance came 25 years
after she became the first women's Olympic marathon gold medalist at the
1984 Games in Los Angeles.