Mary Keitany of Kenya crossed the finish line in Central Park Sunday morning to win the women's division of the 45th New York City Marathon. This is the third consecutive year that Kenyans -- who have now won 22 times since the marathon's inception -- took both the men's and women's titles. Kenyan Stanley Biwott won the men's division.
Keitany is the defending champion and finished in 2:24:25, beating Ethiopia's Aselefech Mergia by 67 seconds for the largest margin of victory since Paula Radcliffe's 2008 title, the Associated Press reports. Lightning-fast Keitany beat her own 2014 time by 42 seconds; she's also the eighth woman to ever win more than once in New York. Keitany is part of the projected 20,000 female runners in this year's race-- their participation has climbed to about 40 percent since a ban on women was lifted in 1971.
A 33-year-old mother of two, Keitany came around the race's final bend holding up one finger on each hand and waved them at cheering onlookers before adding a finger to signify her second consecutive New York City Marathon win, reports USA Today.
The two Kenyans smiled and embraced at the finish line. Experts have varied opinions about why Kenyans dominate most worldwide running competitions, floating theories about high-starch Kenyan diets, devotion to running as a means of transportation in their country and the long-legged often ectomorphic body type that is common among Kenyans.
Ernst van Dyk, a 42-year-old South African who was born without legs from the knees down, won the men's wheelchair division in 1:30:54. Tatyana McFadden won her third women's wheelchair race in New York in a record-shattering time of 1:43:04.
Although no runners from the United States made it onto the podium, New York favorite Meb Keflezighi finished seventh in 2:13.32. At 40 and running his 10th New York City Marathon, Keflezighi is the oldest finisher in the men’s top 10. In 2009, Keflezighi became the first American to win since Alberto Salazar in 1982.
As Halloween revelers did their walks of shame through Manhattan at 5:00 a.m. Sunday, marathon participants converged on a fleet of buses to take them to the Staten Island start village for the renowned race. The annual race, which took place on a crisp, cool fall day, winds its way through all five boroughs of New York City before concluding in Central Park.
More race results can be found on the marathon's official website.