If you didn't get a chance to catch the results of the ING New York City Marathon on Nov. 6, get highlights and photos here, from Geoffrey Mutai's win, which may get him a shot at the Kenyan team for the 2012 Olympics, to American Amanda McGory's course-setting record at the Marathon's wheelchair race.
Mutai Breaks Record, May See Olympic Gold
Kenya's Geoffrey Mutai tore through the finish line of the 2011 New York City Marathon at 2 hours, 5 minutes and 6 seconds, beating the 2:07:43 course record set by Ethiopia's Tesfaye Jifar, a record which has stood for a decade.
Mutai's victory on Nov. 6 was startling, with the marathon runner breaking free from a tight, seven-man pack in the last miles of race. He finished the final six miles of New York Marathon alone. I try at the last minute to push it a little more, he told The Times. For me, I was trying to run my own race. Mutai, 30, won $130,000 for his first-place finish.
Geoffrey Mutai was not the only one to break Jifar's record. Fellow Kenyans Emmanuel Mutai (no relation) and Tsegaye Kebede placed second and third with 2:06:28 and 2:07:13, respectively. All three will receive $70,000 bonuses for beating the standing record.
For Geoffrey Mutai however, New York Marathon records are only the beginning. In April, the phenomenal athlete ran the fastest marathon in recorded history, shattering all records at the Boston Marathon with a time of 2:03:02. His speed would have become an official world record if the Boston Marathon were not designed as a point-by-point course.
These victories, with Mutai winning two of the biggest races in the world, appear more than enough to guarantee the runner a spot in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Isaiah Kiplagat, chairman of Athletics Kenya, told reporters on Nov. 1 that the Kenyan Olympic team would be picked after the 2011 New York Marathon.
Mutai's rivals for the coveted slots include Patrick Makau, who won the Berlin Marathon with a recognized world record of 2 hours, 3 minutes and 38 seconds, Moses Mosop, who finished second at the Boston Marathon in 2:03:06, and second-place finisher Emmanuel Mutai, who won the World Marathon Majors in London back in April.
While waiting for news of whether he will place on the Olympic team, Mutai is still playing it cool. I'm happy if they select me to be in the Olympics, he said. I'll do the job which will get me there. But does he consider himself a world record-holder? I'm fighting to be.
Dado Beats Keitany For Women's Title
In a stunning upset, Ethiopia's Firehiwot Dado beat Kenya's Mary Keitany after trailing her for much of the 2011 women's race.
Dado, making her debut at the New York Marathon, fell behind London Marathon winner Keitany by over two minutes at the 15-mile mark. Keitany, meanwhile, seemed to be defying conventional wisdom about the importance of pacing in a marathon, flying through the first half.
As she crossed the Queensboro Bridge, however, Keitany began to slow, and Dado, with fellow Ethiopian Buzunesh Deba, caught up with her at Central Park. Dado and Deba passed Keitany in the last few miles of the race, with Dado finishing first at 2:23:15 and Deba only four seconds behind, the second-closest women's finish in New York Marathon history.
Because she [Keitany] had been running so fast from the very beginning, I didn't imagine that we'd catch her, Dado, 27, said. But when we did get closer and we saw her, I was very surprised and I was very happy. This is Dado's first major marathon victory, following three straight first-place results at the Rome Marathons.
Keitany, 29, had entered as the favorite, finishing the London Marathon with 2:19:19 and putting out a world-record performance in the Ras Al Khaimah Half-Marathon in the United Arab Emirates, where she ran a 1:05:50.
Keitany insists, however, that she has no regrets. I was feeling [like] my body was okay, the runner said. But after that 5K, I felt fatigue in my leg, and that's why I slowed.
Maybe if I come next year and my body will react okay, maybe no problem. I would run the same. I would not change.
McGrory and Soejjima Break Records, Make History
Amanda McGrory and Masazumi Soejima also made history at the 2011 New York Marathon. American McGrory set a course record in the women's wheelchair race, while Soejima became the first Japanese man to win the men's wheelchair competition.
McGrory, 25, finished the 26.2-mile course, which spanned the five boroughs, in 1:50:24.
It was fabulous, I couldn't ask for a better day weather-wise, the Champaign, Ill., native said of the Nov. 6 weather, noting the runner's dream combination of crisp winds with a sunny sky. Her spectacular results follow wins at the Paris and London Marathons one week apart this year. Last weekend, the four-time Paralympic medalist placed second in yet another marathon in Japan.
[The turaround] is tough, she told The Post. it's one of those things that's unfeasible for a runner to do, but that's a little bit more reasonable for a wheelchair racer.
Soejima, 41, finished with a 1:31:41 result at the New York City Marathon's men's wheelchair race, beating out Kurt Fearnley of Australia (1:33:54) and Kota Jokinoue of Japan (1:34:22).
Soejima, who also won at the same Boston Marathon where Mutai competed, said he was inspired to race following the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan in 2011. I made a promise with the children athletes in Oita that I was going to win the New York City Marathon, he said. I'm very happy that I kept that promise.
For the first half, it looked as though he wouldn't. Fearnley had been leading the race when disaster struck the Paralympic champion from Australia. The athlete's steering mechanism snapped, causing his wheelchair to lose speed.
Shattered, absolutely shattered, Fearnley, 30, told ABC News. I came here pushing quicker than I ever have before, so to have things affected by my steering and not my arms is pretty disappointing.
Nonetheless, Fearnley is proud of what he accomplished, and of the man who bested him for first. In the end that's racing, he remarked. Some days it goes your way and other days it goes the other way. Full credit to Soejima, he's a great performer and has had a fantastic year.
Fearnley, who won the IPC World Championship this year, as well as finishing first in the Sydney and Chicago marathons, can now turn his attention to the London 2012 Paralympic Games, where he hopes to win his third straight gold medal.