Molly Huddle winning the New York City Half Marathon (© organisers)
Molly Huddle of the US and Ethiopian Feyisa Lilesa won their respective titles at the United Airlines NYC Half Marathon in New York City on Sunday (19).
Huddle, who won the race for the third consecutive year, took the tape in 1:08:19, just ahead of her training partner Emily Sisson, who was making her half-marathon debut on the streets of New York.
Sisson was second in 1:08:21, just steps behind Huddle, followed by Burundi’s Diane Nukuri in 1:09:13. Huddle’s time was the third-fastest ever in the 12-year history of the event; she set the event record last year.
“I never would have thought I could come back here and win three times,” Huddle said. “I remember the first win was such a surprise for me, and last year we ran so fast. I just feel really lucky to have won a third time. Every time is really difficult with an international field."
Huddle and Sisson, both residents if Providence, Rhode Island, came out quick from the start line, and just after the five-kilometre mark, the pair, along with U.S. Olympic marathoner Amy Cragg, began to pull away from the pack. Nukuri and Kenya’s Edna Kiplagat eventually passed Cragg, who finished the day in fifth.
In the men’s race, Lilesa’s time of 1:00:04 was the fifth fastest in event history and fastest in the last five years. The Rio 2016 Olympic silver medalist was challenged heavily by Great Britain’s Callum Hawkins, who came second in 1:00:08, and fellow Ethiopian Teshome Mekonen, who was third in 1:00:28. He outsprinted them both down the final stretch toward Wall Street, taking his first win in 2017 after finishing second at January’s Houston Half Marathon in a photo finish.
“After I came back from Rio, my body was not fit, and I didn't think I was going to win,” Lilesa said. “After that, I lost two races. I am very happy now, and I'm getting very good feelings from winning the NYC Half.”
Japan’s Kenta Murayama led early on but faded to fifth, crossing the line in 1:00:57, one place and two seconds behind defending event champion Stephen Sambu of Kenya.
Chris Derrick was the top American finisher in the men’s field, with a personal-best time of 1:01:12.
Organisers for the IAAF