Mary Keitany regains New York title

Kenyan Keitany won her fourth NYC Marathon as Lelisa Desisa took the men's race with defending champ Geoffrey Kamworor third.

Mary Keitany ran the second-fastest time in history to take the 2018 NYC Marathon.

The Kenyan clocked 2:22:48 to claim her fourth title in the Big Apple after finishing second last year.

Timing was everything as the 36-year-old paced herself in the chasing pack for the first half of the race in 1:15:50 before completing an explosive second half in 1:06:58.

Fellow Kenyan and Olympic 5,000m champion Vivian Cheruyiot took second place, a massive three minutes and 14 seconds behind.

There was no repeat 'Fairytale of New York' for defending champion Shalane Flanagan who abandoned retirement plans after becoming the first American victor for 40 years.

She came home strongly in third, and her emotions at the line suggest this may be the end of the road for the 2008 Olympic 10,000m silver medallist.

Desisa delivers at last

In 2017, Lelisa Desisa guaranteed he'd win the NYC Marathon.

He was just one year out.

The 28-year-old Ethiopian had the stamina and mental strength to see off pre-race favourite and last year's winner Geoffrey Kamworor in a breathless final mile.

As the Kenyan faded, Shura Kitata Tola moved into second place to make it a 1-2 for Ethiopia with Desisa holding on to win in 2:05:59.

Like Keitany, Desisa also ran negative splits - 1:03:58 then 1:02:01 to secure a sweet triumph.

Desisa had won the Boston Marathon in 2013 and 2015 and come close on several occasions in New York.

Kitata makes impact

For 22-year-old Shura Kitata Tola, second place was a real statement of intent by a talented young runner.

One of eight children born on the family farm in central Ethiopia, Kitata grew up reading about Olympic greats Abebe Bikila, Kenenisa Bekele and Derartu Tulu in school textbooks.

Maybe he will have the chance to write his own page of history at Tokyo 2020.

For Kamworor, the inspiration of his close friend, marathon world record holder Eliud Kipchoge, wasn't enough in the end, but there will be other opportunities for the 25-year-old.

Men's top three (L-R): runner-up Shura Kitata Tola, winner Lelisa Desisa, third place Geoffrey Kamworor
Men's top three (L-R): runner-up Shura Kitata Tola, winner Lelisa Desisa, third place Geoffrey KamwororMen's top three (L-R): runner-up Shura Kitata Tola, winner Lelisa Desisa, third place Geoffrey Kamworor

New 'swagger' for Team USA

Flanagan said that the U.S. team had a new 'swagger' after she stunned the world by winning in New York 12 months ago.

Desiree Linden then ended a 33-year barren run in the Boston Marathon in April.

That claim was backed up by a another strong home showing with four American women finishing in the top seven places.

While 37-year-old Flanagan might be bowing out, American long-distance running is in a very healthy place thanks to her inspiration.

The top seven in the women's NYC Marathon looked like this:

1- Mary Keitany 2:22:48 Kenya

2- Vivian Cheruiyot 2:26:02 Kenya

3- Shalane Flanagan 2:26:22 United States

4- Molly Huddle 2:26:44 United States

5- Rahma Tusa 2:27:13 Ethiopia

6- Desiree Linden 2:27:51 United States

7- Allie Kieffer 2:28:12 United States

Lagat 18th on marathon debut

Bernard Lagat had told Olympic Channel that his goal for his first marathon was 2:12 and a new American Masters record.

The 43-year-old didn't quite achieve that, but he had a respectable outing in 18th place in 2:17:20.

Lagat's second half was five minutes slower than his first, and it looks like his legs were crying out for the finish line.

The Kenyan-born athlete runner has work to do if he is to make a sixth consecutive Games at Tokyo 2020, but he will learn plenty from his first run over the distance.

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