Jepkosgei, Kamworor seal Kenyan double at New York marathon

New York (AFP) –


Geoffrey Kamworor and Joyciline Jepkosgei sealed a double victory for Kenya at the New York Marathon on Sunday, storming to convincing wins in the men's and women's races at the annual showpiece.

Kamworor, the 2017 New York champion, pulled clear in the closing stages to take the tape in Central Park 2hr 8min 13sec.

Jepkosgei, making her debut over the distance, had earlier beaten compatriot and defending champion Mary Keitany with a time of 2:22:38, the second fastest time in New York history.

Keitany, who had been chasing a remarkable fifth New York title, finished in second place after a thrilling battle with the less experienced Jepkosgei.

The two women had been part of a three-pronged breakaway that led from around the 12-mile mark alongside Ethiopia's Ruti Aga.

That trio remained out in front as they advanced into Manhattan at mile 16, although Keitany gave the first clue she was struggling after appearing to vomit.

Keitany and Jepkosgei started edging away from Aga by mile 20 and soon the Ethiopian had been dropped from contention.

Jepkosgei then made her move in mile 23, rapidly putting daylight between herself and Keitany and opening up a 16-second lead heading down the stretch.

Heading into the final mile Jepkosgei grimaced as she dug in for victory, glancing over her shoulder to check the presence of Keitany.

Keitany looked comfortable but by that stage had left herself too much work to do and Jepkosgei closed out a superb win, just missing out on Margaret Okayo's 2003 course record of 2hr 22min 31sec.

"I knew Mary had more experience in marathon, so I was trying to push," a delighted Jepkosgei said after the win.

The men's race had followed a similar pattern, with Kamworor judging his moment to perfection to pull away from Albert Korir over the closing stages and take first in 2:08:13.

Kamworor, Korir and Ethiopia's Tamirat Tola had broken away from the field at the 21-mile mark.

Tola, who had looked comfortable throughout, quickly fell away however, leaving Kamworor and Korir to battle it out.

Kamworor's finishing speed was too much for Korir however and when the 26-year-old made his move at around the 24-mile mark, Korir was unable to respond.

Korir eventually finished second in 2:08:36 ahead of Ethiopia's Girma Bekele Gebre, who took third place in 2:08:38.

"I was feeling okay, very comfortable and I was ready for everything," Kamworor said afterwards.

"The last few miles the race was so fast. But I was able to go and was feeling strong and that's when I decided to go away," he added.

But there was disappointment for Ethiopia's defending champion Lelisa Desisa, who was making an improbable attempt to win back-to-back titles just 29 days after winning marathon gold at the World Championships in Doha last month.

Desisa hit the front early on but looked to be clearly struggling, eventually withdrawing after seven miles.