Sunday March 17th, 2019
New York, NY
Distance: Half Marathon
What’s a great way to keep warm on a chilly March morning? Run 13.1 miles through the greatest city in the world at the United Airlines NYC Half.
It may not have felt like the first day of spring—not with temps hovering in the mid-30s—but the weather didn’t seem to bother the approximately 20,000 finishers. In fact, many runners reported PRs after crossing the finish line.
|Male||01:02:39||Ben True||32||West Lebanon, NH|
|2nd Male||01:02:42||Dathan Ritzenhein||35||Belmont, MI|
|3rd Male||01:02:43||Chris Thompson||36||GBR|
|4th Male||01:02:44||Teshome Mekonen||22||ETH|
|2nd Female||01:12:24||Emily Sisson||26||Providence, RI|
|3rd Female||01:12:43||Karoline Bjerkeli Grovdal||27||NOR|
|4th Female||01:12:50||Mamitu Daska||34||ETH|
|M 40-49||1:04:14||Abdi Abdirahman||41||Tucson, AZ|
|M 50-59||1:20:54||Uri Geiger||50||ISR|
|M 60-69||1:23:06||Michael Bruscino||62||Washingtonville, NY|
|M 70+||1:49:07||Julio Aguirre||71||Perth Amboy, NJ|
|F 40-49||1:15:14||Roberta Groner||40||Randolph, NJ|
|F 50-59||1:23:19||Fiona Bayly||50||New York, NY|
|F 60-69||1:44:43||Dolores Doman||61||Dix Hills, NY|
|F 70+||2:18:59||Frances Breslauer||77||New York, NY|
A newly redesigned course welcomed an event-record 21,965 runners, and a fresh face appeared at the front of the pack at the 2018 United Airlines NYC Half today.
Ben True became the first American male open division winner in the event’s history by negotiating the 13.1-mile course in a time of 1:02:39 in his first attempt at the distance. The American record-holder for 5K on the roads, True put his top-end speed on display when he accelerated past countryman and eventual second-place finisher Dathan Ritzenhein (1:02:42) and eventual third-place finisher Chris Thompson (1:02:43) of Great Britain.
“Knowing that most of the field are marathoners, or at least have done the half many times before, I knew that I probably had a little bit better closing speed than them,” said True, whose longest competitive race before this was 10 miles. “My goal was just to hide for the majority of the race and then get dragged for 20K, and then hopefully that last [kilometer] I was able to use my speed to get around people. That was my strategy. Hang on for dear life.”
It was a chilly morning in New York City with the temperature at the start only reaching 29 degrees Fahrenheit and dropping a degree by the time the leaders crossed the finish line. Headwinds for the majority of the race and the learning curve of running a new course contributed to modest starts across all divisions. The result was a slower pace with a larger lead group.Only as Ritzenhein began pushing the pace around the 15K mark did a large group of contenders begin to dwindle.
True said after the race that he questioned whether he could hang with Ritzenhein after the 35-year-old made his move. It wasn’t until the last mile of the race when True, 32, felt confident that he could prevail.
“When Dathan pulled away, probably around mile 10, I wasn’t quite sure I was going to be able to reel him back in,” True said. “And even when I started reeling him back in, I didn’t know if I was then going to be able to get around him. It really wasn’t until the very end that I was like, ‘All right, I can get this.’”
The women’s division boasted a similarly scintillating finish, as just one-tenth of a second separated champion Buze Diriba of Ethiopia and runner-up American Emily Sisson.
Sisson, like Ritzenhein, spent much of the race dictating the pace, but Diriba was able to shadow her every move. The 24-year-old Ethiopian seized the moment to win with a time of 1:12:23 and forced Sisson, who set an American debut record at last year’s race, to settle for a second-consecutive runner-up finish with a time of 1:12:24.Karoline Bjerkeli Grøvdal of Norway finished third in a time of 1:12:43.
“When there were two of us left, there were some thoughts in my mind that I could win,” Diriba said through a translator. “But at the same time, I knew also that she’s strong, so I wasn’t really sure.”
“It was such a different course,” Sisson said. “No one really knew what to expect, no one had an advantage of running it before, so I think we went out pretty conservatively. In Central Park I tried to push it a bit, and I knew Buze had a really good kick—I’ve seen her race before, she finishes strong.”