Geoffrey Mutai claimed another major marathon victory and a small measure of vindication Sunday with a record-setting run through the five boroughs of the New York City Marathon.
His winning time of 2:05:06 serves as an autumn bookend to the record 2:03:02 he posted in the Boston Marathon. That effort, aided by a tailwind and the drop in elevation on the Boston Course, is the fastest recorded marathon in history, yet not the world record.
Repeating the performance in New York solidified the 30-year-old Kenyan’s stature among the best marathoners in the world, if not his place on his own country’s Olympic team.
“I am happy now because even although it was not recognized, I’m happy to be at that level,” he said in a post-race news conference.
Mutai broke away from a small group with roughly five miles to the finish in Central Park and easily beat his countryman, Emmanuel Mutai by more than a minute. Tsegaye Kebede, of Ethiopia, finished third, in 2:07:04, still under the previous New York Marathon record set by Tesfay Jifar in 2001.
The women’s race had more drama, but no records.
Firehiwot Dado, 27, of Ethiopia, held off Buzunesh Deba by five seconds, and won with a time of 2:23:15. The win and close finish was overshadowed by the surge and collapse of Mary Keitany, of Kenya. Keitany led by nearly a half-mile and ran under the record pace for most of the day, but gave up her lead and the victory in the last mile.
In its 42nd year, the destination marathon drew a record 47,438 starters, including 156 runners from Wisconsin.
Four of them ran under three hours, led by Nathan Ziegler, of Madison, who finished in 2:46:07. Andy Nesheim, of Mequon, was nearby in 2:47:54, Nathan Swartzendruber, of Milwaukee, finished in 2:52:47, and Igor Stevic hit the line in 2:58:58.
Krista Cornelius, a nurse from the Fox Cities, led the Wisconsin women, in 3:11. Ashleigh Spees, of Milwaukee, and Cheryl Schmitt, of Eau Claire, followed in 3:14:14 and 3:21:45, respectively.
All three ran ahead of eight-time Olympic medalist Apolo Ohno, the short-track speed skater more accustomed to 40-second bursts than 40-kilometer races. His effort on Sunday took 3:25:14.
Running in a straight line also presented a challenge for Ohno.
His trainer, Todd Rushworth, told SI.com: "I always had to stay on his right side," the trainer said. "I couldn't run on his left, because that's the side he's used to turning into during his races. It was an instinct; he kept bumping into me when I was on the left.”
Another athlete more familiar with skating, Hockey Hall of Famer Mark Messier, finished in 4:14:27. No word on whether or not that included time in the penalty box.