Hellen Obiri m Tamirat Tola, New York Marathon

Tamirat Tola and Hellen Obiri Earn Historic Wins at The New York  Marathon

Kenya and Ethiopia breed winners!

On Nov. 5, Ethiopian Tamirat Tola won the men’s race, and Kenyan Hellen Obiri was the top contender in the women’s race at the New York Marathon.

Tola finished the men’s race in 2:04:58, beating the 2:05.06 record set by Geoffrey Mutai in 2011. 

The 32-year-old athlete also won the marathon in the  2022 World Championships. Due to illness, Tola was forced to drop out of the 2023 race on August 27. The Olympic Bronze medalist ran alongside his countrymate, Jemel Yimer, for most of the race. The duo ran together until about mile 20 when Tola broke away from Yimer. He got a sizable lead on other opponents, allowing him to run the final mile of the race alone.

Tola expressed his appreciation for fans who cheered him on along the way.

“The people of New York [are] amazing to give me moral support every kilometer,” the runner told ABC New York.

Coming in second place was Albert Korior of Kenya. The 29-year-old athlete finished at 2:06:57. Less than a second later was Ethiopian Shura Kitata, coming in the third.

32-year-old Hellen Obiri of Kenya won the women’s race, finishing at 2:27:33, making her the first woman to win the Boston and New York City Marathons in the same year since 1989.

Coming in second place was Letesenbet Gidney of Ethiopia, followed by Kenyan runners Sharon Lokedi and Brigid Kosgel. The four women ran close together, each taking the lead at different points in the race. Obiri charged to the front in the final seconds of the race, beating Gidney by a mere six seconds. 

“My first debut here was terrible for me,” said Obiri, who finished sixth last year. “Sometimes you learn from your mistakes. … Finally, I made it,” she told ESPN Sports.

Kenya has yet to announce its three-woman team for the 2024 Olympics. Still, they must omit at least one of their top contenders, Obiri, Lokedi, Kosgei and Tokyo Olympic marathon winner, Peres Jepchirchir. 

Jepchirchir won the New York Marathon in 2021 and the Boston Marathon in 2022, but the 30-year-old withdrew from New York City this year due to an injury.