New York Marathon: Obiri makes debut, Chebet leads Kenyan men

Hellen Obiri

USA's Karissa Schweizer (centre) and Kenya's Hellen Obiri (right) compete in the women's 10,000m final during the World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon on July 16, 2022.

Photo credit: Jewel Samad | AFP

What you need to know:

  • The sixth and final race in the World Marathon Majors gets underway from 4pm on Sunday
  • Bruising battle expected in the women’s 42km between 2010 champion Kiplagat, and World 10,000m silver medallist Obiri Sunday evening

Boston Marathon champion Evans Chebet takes the battle to defending champion Albert Korir at the New York City Marathon on Sunday from 4pm (Kenyan time).

An interesting battle is set to unfold in the women’s race with the 2010 champion Edna Kiplagat seeking to recapture the title 12 years later in the field that has World 10,000m silver medallist Hellen Obiri making her debut over the distance.

The men and women’s races will get underway at 4pm and will see athletes do battle through all the five boroughs of New York City starting from Verrazano-Narrows Bridge on Staten Island. They will tear through Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx before finishing the race at the Central Park.

Chebet, who trains in Kapsabet, Nandi County, is the favourite in men’s race by virtue of being the fastest in the field with a personal best time of two hours and three minutes which he registered in the 2020 Valencia Marathon.

Chebet, who made his World Marathon Majors debut with a third place finish at the 2016 London Marathon, failed to finish in Boston in 2018 but settled third at 2021 London Marathon.

The 33-year-old celebrated his maiden WMM victory in Boston last year on his debut and it’s left to be known whether his three-month training will seal him a brace.

The New York Marathon is the sixth and final race of the Abott World Marathon Majors. Tokyo Marathon was held in March, Boston Marathon in April, Berlin Marathon in September, London Marathon, and the Chicago Marathon held month.

Chebet will draw inspiration from his training mates, Amos Kipruto and Benson Kipruto, who won the London Marathon and Chicago Marathon respectively last month.

But Chebet will have to contend with Korir, who has vowed to defend the title after winning last year in 2:08:22 but has a career best of 2:08:03 from victory in 2019 Ottawa.

Korir, 28,  who trains in Kaptarakwa, Elgeyo Marakwet is confident of a repeat performance.

“It will be my third time here and I believe I have enough experience to tame the other big boys who are faster than me. I know I am the man to beat and the competition could produce a course record,” said Korir, who was second in 2019 in 2:08:36.

The Kenyans face face a strong field that includes the 2020 London Marathon champion Ethiopia’s Shura Kitata (2:04:49), who finished second in New York City in 2018, Brazil’s Daniel Do Nascimento (2:04:51), Olympics silver medallist Dutch’s Abdi Nageeye (2:04:56) among others.

Kiplagat, the two-time world marathon champion, will be making her fifth appearance in New York City.

The 42-year-old, who won in 2014 London and  2017 Boston, comes face-to-face with her compatriots US-based Grace Kahura (2:30:32), Viola Lagat (2:22:44) who was second to Peres Jepchirchir in last years’ edition, Caroline Rotich (2:23:22) and debutants Hellen Obiri and Sharon Lokedi.

Kiplagat is fresh from finishing fourth at the Boston Marathon in April where she timed 2:21: 40.

“I normally tackle a race one by one and I’m glad that I will be competing again in the “Big Apple” on Sunday where I just want to run a good race. I have been preparing in Colorado for the last three months and going for the fifth time, I just want to compete well and be on the podium,” said Kiplagat, who has a personal best of 2:19:50.

Obiri, who has been in Colorado for six weeks where she has been acclimatizing ahead of the race, said that she is in the race to learn since she has no experience in marathons.

“Kiplagat is a great athlete and she inspires me and I had a chance to train with her during the short period I was in Colorado. She has been advising me on how to tackle the marathon and for one to be in the career for a long period, you have to do good calculations in life,” said Obiri.

Obiri added that being on the podium after the race will be a good bonus for her since she has just started her career in the marathon.

They will be competing against a strong team which includes Kenyan-born Israelite Lonah Chemtai Salpeter - who is the fastest with a personal best of 2:17:45, Ethiopians world marathon champion Gotytom Gebreslase (2:18:11) and Senbere Teferi (2:24:11), USA’s Des Linden (2:22:28) among others.