2022 New York City Marathon Sharon Lokedi and Evans Chebet Complete a Kenyan Sweep
In record heat for November, Kenyans dominate the New York City Marathon.
Evans Chebet was among the runners who watched as Daniel do Nascimento separated himself from the rest of the men’s field at the New York City Marathon on Sunday. Do Nascimento, a 24-year-old Brazilian who is known for being — what is the word? — assertive, was a blur as he surged into the lead, then a speck off in the distance, and then gone from view entirely.
Chebet, a soft-spoken Kenyan who arrived in New York having already won the Boston Marathon this year, opted to exercise patience. Sure enough, as he approached the 21st mile of Sunday’s race, he saw do Nascimento again: face down by the side of the road, being tended to by medical personnel.
“I felt bad for him,” Chebet said in Swahili through a translator, “but I had to continue the race.”
On an unseasonably warm day, Chebet survived both the conditions and the competition, winning in 2 hours 8 minutes 41 seconds to complete a clean sweep for Kenyan men in all six of the world marathon majors this year. Chebet, 33, did his part by winning two of them — and two of the toughest. Of course, considering what Chebet had done in Boston, no one was surprised to see him tackle New York with great composure.
“Boston was actually harder,” said Chebet, who wore his laurel wreath to his news conference.
The women’s finish was much more unexpected. Sharon Lokedi, a Kenyan who raced in college at Kansas, was fearless in her marathon debut, breaking free from a celebrated field to win in 2:23:23.“Perfect weather for me,” said Lokedi, 28, who splits her time between Kenya and Flagstaff, Ariz., where she trains with the Under Armour-sponsored Dark Sky Distance group. “I didn’t expect to win. I expected to run well. But it ended up being a good outcome.”
Lokedi left an all-star cast in her wake. Lonah Chemtai Salpeter, a Kenyan-born Israeli who arrived in New York with the fastest time in the field, finished second. Gotytom Gebreslase of Ethiopia, the reigning world champion, was third. Edna Kiplagat of Kenya, who, at 42, is one of the world’s most decorated marathoners, was fourth. And Viola Cheptoo of Kenya, last year’s runner-up, was fifth.
“It was hot, but I was really prepared,” said Lokedi, who was the N.C.A.A. champion in the 10,000 meters in 2018. “I picked up water at every station to pour on myself.”Do Nascimento, who set a South American record when he finished third in the Seoul Marathon this year in 2:04:51, was the story in New York for much of the morning — until it all began to go poorly for him. Easily recognizable in his lavender tights and space-age sunglasses, he built a two-minute lead more than halfway through the race. But others in the field had seen him try that sort of bold strategy before.In brutal conditions at the Tokyo Olympics last year, do Nascimento was among the leaders when he collapsed in scenes that were vaguely horrifying and was forced to withdraw.
On Sunday, his superhuman pace was beginning to slow when he pulled off the course for an 18-second pit stop at a portable toilet. He emerged with his lead intact, albeit narrower, but it was clear that he was in trouble. About six miles short of the finish, he sank to the pavement and was forced to abandon the race.
“I want to feel sorry for him when I saw him on the ground,” said Abdi Nageeye of the Netherlands, who finished third. “But I was like, ‘Come on, man, this is the second time. You did that in the Olympics.’ ”
A spokesman for the marathon said do Nascimento was recovering at his hotel.
It was not an easy day for anyone. Galen Rupp, a two-time Olympic medalist who was making his long-awaited New York debut, dropped out about 18 miles into the race with a hip injury. And Shura Kitata of Ethiopia, who finished second behind Chebet, lumbered onto the stage for his news conference as if his legs were made of concrete. A race official handed Kitata a giant bag of ice, which he placed on his thighs.“It was very hot,” he said through a translator, “and that made it very tough.”
It was the warmest marathon on record since the race was moved to its traditional early November date in 1986. The temperature in Central Park was 73 degrees Fahrenheit at 11 a.m., shortly before the elite runners began to cross the finish line.
Scott Fauble, 31, was the top American on the men’s side, finishing ninth — a solid result coming the morning after he signed a new sponsorship deal with Nike. Fauble, who was also the top American finisher at the Boston Marathon this year, had been without a sponsor for months.
After agreeing to terms on a contract at dinner on Saturday night, Fauble took an Uber to the Nike store in Manhattan to pick up sneakers. The rest of his racing gear arrived at his hotel later that night.
“It’s quite a rush to get your singlet for the next day at 10 p.m. the night before the race,” he said.
On the women’s side, three Americans finished in the top 10. Aliphine Tuliamuk was seventh, Emma Bates was eighth and Nell Rojas was 10th. Tuliamuk, 33, who won the marathon at the U.S. Olympic trials in 2020 and gave birth to her daughter, Zoe, in January 2021, had not raced in a marathon since she injured herself at the Tokyo Games last year. On Sunday, she finished in a personal-best time of 2:26:18.
“I think that I excel when the conditions are not perfect,” Tuliamuk said. “I rise to the occasion, and I believe that today that was the case.”
Still, she had to overcome some adversity. In early September, she said, she experienced swelling in one of her ankles that forced her to take a couple of weeks off from training.
“In the back of my mind, I wished that I had a few more weeks” to train, she said. “But I also decided to focus on gratitude because I didn’t know that I was going to be here. And the fact that I was able to put in some solid training and had a chance to be competitive, I was just very grateful for that.”Gina Gregorio always watches the race from the corner of Warren Street and Fourth Avenue. This year she held signs that read, “Run to the Polls.”
“I love it when we’re right before the election because we can actually ask people to get out to vote, and it’s like nonpartisan, although I have had partisan signs before because I feel like it’s a great place to have your voice heard,” Gregorio said.
posted Sunday November 6th