2018 NEW YORK MARATHON REVIEW: Mary Keitany demolishes field to win in 2:22:48, the second fastest time in race history

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In what is probably the most emphatic illustration of absolute dominance by a stellar athlete, Mary Keitany on Sunday utterly destroyed the field at the 2018 edition of The New York City Marathon, running the second half of the marathon in a scorching 66 minutes 58 seconds, to record her fourth win in five years

In what was expected to be a fight for top honours, the first half of the race failed to live up to the billing, with the front group of athletes crossing the half-way point in an astonishingly slow 75:50, a Sunday morning jog for most of the elite athletes.

At this point the race seemed to be shaping up into an impending slugfest to earn a podium place, with Shalane Flanagan, the defending New York Marathon champion, Vivian Cheruiyot, the 2018 London Marathon champion, and Rahma Tusa and Netsanet Gudeta of Ethiopia all huddled together with Mary Keitany neatly tucked in.

If the strategy was to even out the race by conserving energy in the early stages of this marathon in order to ensure a cutthroat last two kilometers where the best sprinter takes it all, then Mary Keitany did not get the memo.

After an 18:45 first 5K, 37:05 (10K) and 55:08 (15K), all the athletes seemed within their powers, and when the race crossed the halfway point at 75:50, it began to seem like this script was unlike any that the pundits had predicted.

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However, the race truly began to take shape when Keitany took the lead at 25K, with the time stamp showing 1:28:23, and begun reeling off incredibly fast splits with each next kilometer faster than the last, implying an unerring sense of timing and acceleration with little sign of beads of sweat showing up on her face, and her breathing as even as that of a wild cat.

It is testament to this that the last five mile splits coming up on the halfway point were 5:48, 5:31, 5:37, 5:21, 5:22 while the time splits between 21K and 25K were 5:14 and 5:08, a 40-second injection of pace from midway to 25K.

And finally the lead group broke into two formations with Netsanet Gudeta and Rahma Tusa deciding to go with Mary Keitany, a move that would prove costly for Netsanet Gudeta as she eventually dropped out.

All this while the second group fell back with Vivian Cheruiyot, Shalane Flanagan and Molly Huddle deciding to sit back and wait; at one point falling as far back as forty seconds behind the lead group.
Sensing victory and looking for any signs of weakness in the two Ethiopians, Mary Keitany brought down the hammer with sub five minutes miles with splits of 4:55, 4:58 and 4:58 for mile 17, 18 and 19.

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Having grown up in the steep hills of Makilany village in the remote Baringo County of North Rift Kenya, and running 10km daily from home to school and back in her formative years, must have helped at this point of the race.

A bit of research by Netsanet Gudeta would probably have meant that she would end up on the podium, instead of dropping out, if she had hang back at this point.

With 10 kilometers to go, Mary Keitany climbing uphill finally broke away, with any lingering doubt of her impending win well and truly dispensed of.

Easing back ever so slightly on the pace, but still covering every mile in slightly under 5:10, Keitany opened up a lead that only kept increasing until she was over three minutes ahead of the chasing pack with less than 2km to go.

Further back Vivian Cheruiyot, relying on all her experience on the track as a 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters runner gave chase and eventually caught up with the Ethiopians, seemingly wilting and spent up by their pursuit of Keitany.

Few people can live with Vivian in a 10K chase, and as soon as Rahma Tusa reappeared in her crosshairs, there was truly never any doubt that she would reel her in.

Shalane Flanagan, the defending champion, stuck with Vivian, less than thirty seconds behind but never truly letting her get out of sight, and once she overtook Rahma Tusa, whoever had placed a bet on her finishing on the podium could go and collect their money at that point.

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Meanwhile Molly Huddle, another American, managed to overtake Rahma Tusa and earn fourth for the first time in the race.

Passing the 40K mark with a time underneath 2 hours 23 minutes seemingly imminent, Mary Keitany went down and found an extra gear, covering the mile before the last in 5:09, to well and truly enter the fray for the first time in the entire race to challenge Margaret Okayo’s NYC Marathon 17-year-old course record of 2:22:31.

In the end, Mary Keitany ran out of real estate, with the course record never truly coming under threat, crossing the finish line in an impressive 2:22:48, the second fastest time in New York Marathon History.

1 Mary Keitany, KEN 2:22:48
2 Vivian Cheruiyot, KEN 2:26:02
3 Shalane Flanagan, USA 2:26:22
4 Molly Huddle, USA 2:26:44
5 Rahma Tusa, ETH 2:27:13
6 Desiree Linden, USA 2:27:51
7 Allie Kieffer, USA 2:28:12
8 Lisa Weightman, AUS 2:29:11
9 Mamitu Daska, ETH 2:30:31
10 Belaynesh Fikadu, ETH 2:30:47
11 Stephanie Bruce, USA 2:30:59
12 Roberta Groner, USA 2:31:01
13 Gerda Steyn, RSA 2:31:04
14 Carrie Dimoff, USA 2:31:12
15 Samantha Bluske, USA 2:32:04
16 Sydney Devore, USA 2:32:43
17 Brittany Charboneau, USA 2:36:35
18 Sarah Sellers, USA 2:36:37
19 Beverly Ramos, PUR 2:40:58
20 Adriana Aparecida Da Silva, BRA 2:41:00


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