Both men were given the same time, 32:14.
“It feels really good,” said Sambu, of the historic victory in what became a two-man race from around Mile 4.
A field of 12,800 was entered for the 45th running of the race, which was founded in 1973 by Tommy Leonard.
Also defending her title was Kenya’s Caroline Chepkoech, who had an easier time of it than Sambu: Her winning time of 35:53 put her a full minute ahead of runner-up Mary Wacera of Kenya (36:53), the widest margin of victory on the women’s side since 1982. Jess Tonn, sixth in 37:49, was first American.
“I was giving everything,” said Chepkoech, whose lead was eight seconds before Mile 3 and 30 seconds by Mile 5. “I was racing to go in front. When I see back I saw nobody can follow me and I tried to push, push. I feel lucky, I am happy, and I feel strong!”
Sambu and Chepkoech each took home $10,000 for the win, with Chepkoech—for the second straight year—earning a $5000 bonus as winner of The Countdown, sponsored by Aetna. Chepkoech easily beat the clock and Sambu against a time gap of 4:33.