Ethiopia’s Tola and Kenya’s Obiri make history at 2023 NYC Marathon

Dollita Okine November 07, 2023
The winners of the men's and women's races finished within a few minutes of one another. Photo Credit: Instagram, Tamirat Tola and Hellen Obiri

Tamirat Tola, an Ethiopian runner, set a new record by winning the men’s race at the New York City Marathon. Surpassing the 2011 record of 2:05.06 set by Geoffrey Mutai, the athlete finished in 2 hours, 4 minutes, and 58 seconds.

At mile 20, Tola separated himself from fellow countryman Jemal Yimer as they headed toward the Bronx, according to CNBC. When Tola returned to Manhattan a mile later, he had gained 19 seconds on the leader’s pace and was only pursuing Mutai’s mark.

After finishing fourth in New York twice before and finishing third in London earlier this year, the delighted champion raised his arms in triumph as he won his first major World Marathon competition.

Tola told ESPN, “The people of New York [are] amazing. I work hard training, so it is confidence for me.”

The 2021 NYC Marathon winner, Albert Korir of Kenya, came in second, about two minutes behind Tola. Tola received a $50,000 prize for breaking the previous course record.

In the meantime, Kenyan Hellen Obiri won the women’s title after coming out on top in the last 400 meters. She adds the triumph in New York to her April victory at the Boston Marathon. According to ESPN, since Norwegian Ingrid Kristiansen accomplished the feat in 1989, Obiri is the only female to win both of those marathons in the same year.

“My first debut here was terrible for me,” remarked Obiri, who finished sixth last year. “Sometimes you learn from your mistakes… Finally, I made it.”

Running together, Obiri, Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey, and reigning champion Sharon Lokedi were trading leads. As the group returned to Central Park for the last half-mile, Obiri moved up and finished in 2:27.23. Six seconds behind, Gidey came in second place. Lokedi trailed Obiri by 10 seconds. The three pulled away from fourth-place finisher Brigid Kosgei of Kenya as they reached Central Park.

With 11 competitors, including Americans Kellyn Taylor and Molly Huddle, in the lead pack for the opening 20 km, the women’s race was tactical. Huddle and Taylor both briefly led the pack before fading to finish eighth and ninth.

It was anticipated that this exceptional women’s field would break Margaret Okayo’s 2003 track record of 2:22:31. The winners of the men’s and women’s races finished within a few minutes of each other.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: November 7, 2023


Must Read

Connect with us

Join our Mailing List to Receive Updates