Bias alert: I love Bernard Lagat. The only reason I was really excited to watch the NYC Half Marathon was to watch one of the greatest runners of all time attempt a new distance. With that being said, the famed NYC Half Marathon this past weekend was nothing but extraordinary. Below you will find a short recap of the men’s and women’s races.
While this race, in regard to U.S. distance running, was a test to see how Dathan Rtizenhein is bouncing back, how Lagat handles longer distances and to see where Abdi Abdirahman is at, the day belonged to Kenya’s Wilson Kipsang. Kipsang is no stranger to winning races, and while many did see him as the favorite, his win over Italy’s Daniele Meucci was impressive. With 30-degree temperatures, the race started out slow, with 17 men in the lead pack at 5K. After 10K, Kipsang started to put on the jets, and by 15K the race was all but his. Kipsang finished in 1:01:02. The race for second came down to duel between Ritz and Meucci, with the Italian finishing in 1:01:06 to Ritz’s 1:01:10. This was a breakout race for both runners.
While Ritz had a great showing, the only other American showing a strong result for his effort was Boulder’s Jason Hartmann. Hartmann ran 1:01:51 for 9th place. Behind him in 12th was Bernard Lagat, finishing in a time of 1:02:33 for his ½ marathon debut. Abdi Abdirhaman was the 4th American in 15th in a time of 1:03:20.
The women’s race was just as exciting as the men’s, coming down to a duel between Caroline Rotich of Kenya and Burundi’s Diane Nukuri-Johnson. The race started out with New Zealand’s Kim Smith taking out the first mile in 5:11. Rotich followed Smith’s move, and the beginning miles seemed as if those two were the only females in the race.
After 7km, Smith ended up fading and dropping out of the race, while Rotich started to drop the hammer. She created a commanding lead, and although it seemed like no one would reach her, as the race began to close, Nukuri-Johnson started to show her closing speed. She was also joined by Croatia’s Lisa Stublic. The three started battling around the 10-mile mark, but only Nukuri-Johnson and Rotich would hang on to the pace until the end. In the final stretch Rotich broke open a gap once again finishing in a time of 1:09:09. Nukuri-Johnson would hold on for second in 1:09:12, with Stublic coming in 3rd in 1:09:18. Stephanie Rothstein Bruce was the first American in 9th in a time of 1:10:53, followed by Adriana Nelson in 11th and Janet Bawcom in 12th.