Kamworor to defend New York 42km crown

By JONATHAN KOMEN AND IAAF: Thursday, August 16th 2018 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Athletics
Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya celebrates after crossing the finish line to win the New York City Marathon in Central Park in New York, U.S., November 5, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

New York City Marathon champions Geoffrey Kamworor and Shalane Flanagan will defend their titles at the IAAF Gold Label road race on November 4.

At last year’s race, Kamworor claimed his first major marathon victory while Flanagan became the first US woman to win in New York since Miki Gorman did it in 1977.

Kamworor held off compatriot Wilson Kipsang down the final turns in Central Park to win last year. The 2015 runner-up separated himself from the field with a 4:31 penultimate mile to finish in 2:10:53.

He has won the past three IAAF World Half Marathon Championships and recorded three consecutive sub-2:07 performances at the Berlin Marathon from 2012-2014, with his 2:06:12 clocking from 2012 remaining his personal best.

“I know New York City Marathon course is not an easy one. I will retreat to training in the hilly areas of Kaptarakwa along the Elgeyo escarpment. I am sure to have good preparations,” Kamworor said yesterday.

“I am yet to know the others in the line-up. But I will prepare for tough opposition.”

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New York City Marathon is an energy-sapping course with 26 turns. Chicago Marathon’s flat course has 31 turns, Boston has three turns, London Marathon has 19 turns while Berlin’s flat course has 17 turns.

Kamworor is a member of NN Running team and trains under Dutchman Jose Hermens of Global Sports Communications in Kaptagat.

“Racing once more in the TCS New York City Marathon means so much to me,” said the three-time world cross-country champion.

“It is my favourite race and although thousands of miles separate my training base in Kaptagat, Kenya to New York, the event feels like home.”

Kamworor, a police officer, has ran twice and won in shoes borrowed from Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge –at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships (in Kampala last year) and the World Half Marathon Championships in Valencia, Spain, last March.

Not bad for a 25-year-old policeman who earlier lacked confidence in athletics; always afraid that locals in his rural home could mock him while in training and this saw him take too long to engage in full-time training.

Flanagan ended a 40-year drought for US women at the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon by seizing the crown from Kenya’s Mary Keitany with a time of 2:26:53. With her first victory in just her second appearance at the New York City Marathon – she was runner-up in her marathon debut in 2010 – Flanagan became the sixth US women’s champion in the event and will join Des Linden, the 2018 Boston Marathon winner.