Will Kenyan men make history in the New York Marathon tomorrow?

Albert Korir of Kenya leaps across the finish line as he wins the men's race at the New York City Marathon on November 7, 2021. [USA TODAY Sports]

History awaits Kenyan men at the 51st New York City Marathon tomorrow.

It will be a decider on whether Kenyans will seal victories in all the six World Marathon Majors series this season.

And if any of the country’s men triumph tomorrow, then Kenya will have secured a clean sweep in the 2022 WMMs.

Kenyan men have claimed five WMMs out of six, with world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge winning Tokyo and Berlin while Evans Chebet ruled Boston as Amos Kipruto and Benson Kipruto settled for wins in London and Chicago.

It will be the second time in the history of WMMs that Kenyan men are winning all the races.

One such feat was achieved in 2011 after Geoffrey Mutai powered to stunning victories in Boston and New York as Emmanuel Mutai delivered the London Marathon win. Patrick Makau emerged the Berlin Marathon champion that year while Moses Mosop won Chiin Chicago.

So, tomorrow is the opportunity to deliver a historic accomplishment in WMMs.

To help Kenyan men rewrite this history in the streets of New York, one of the two country’s top guns – Evans Chabet and Albert Korir should deploy all the tactics, and cut the tape at the finish line in Central Park.

Chebet will have to unleash the tactics that saw him clinch his first WMM victory in Boston in April. He pulled away for a quality field and maintained a solo run after crossing the 35km mark. Chebet, with a 2:03:00 is the fastest in the field.

Last year, Albert Korir overpowered Morocco’s Mohamed El Aaraby and Italy’s Eyob Faniel around 29km and quickly established a commanding lead, a tactic that guaranteed him victory at the 50th edition of the New York City Marathon.

The Kenyan duo will battle the 2020 London marathon champion Shura Kitata of Ethiopia who takes to NYC a 2:04:49 personal and Olympic silver medalist Abdi Nageeye of the Netherlands who stunned Lawrence Cherono at the Tokyo Olympic Games last year, in their quest to extent Kenya’s dominance in the WMMs.

New York Marathon has shown no respect for Olympic champions. They include Frank Shorter, Stefano Baldini, Stephen Kiprotich and Joan Benoit Samuelson. Two-time Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge has not competed in the Big Apple race.

American Frank Shorter, who won the gold medal in Munich in 1972 and the silver medal in 1976, finished second in New York in 1976, did not finish in 1977, was 12th in 1978, and seventh in 1979. Italian Stefano Baldini won the Olympic Marathon in Athens in 2004, then placed sixth in New York in 2006 and fourth in 2007. 

Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda, the 2012 Olympic champion, finished 12th in New York in 2013 and fifth in 2014.  Joan Benoit Samuelson, winner of the inaugural Olympic Marathon for women in Los Angeles in 1984, finished third in 1988 and sixth in 1991.  In the 1988 race Samuelson was tripped by a boy handing out cups of water which sent her tumbling to the pavement near the 21-mile mark.

Peres Jepchirchir became the first Olympic champion to win the New York City Marathon last year.

She became just the second Kenyan woman to win the Olympic Marathon title since the event was added to The Games in 1984 in Los Angeles. 

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