Stanley Biwott, Mary Keitany
AP

Kenyans sweep New York City Marathon for third straight year

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NEW YORK — Kenyans Stanley Biwott and Mary Keitany won the New York City Marathon on Sunday, marking the third straight year the distance-running power swept the 26.2-mile race.

Biwott, 29, notched the biggest victory of his career in his second New York appearance. He clocked 2 hours, 10 minutes, 34 seconds, and outlasted countryman Geoffrey Kamworor by 14 seconds, pulling away in the final two miles in Central Park.

Pre-race favorite and defending champion Wilson Kipsang of Kenya was fourth out of an unofficial 50,229 total starters.

Meb Keflezighi, the 2009 winner, placed seventh in 2:13:32 for his eighth top-10 in 10 New York appearances. Keflezighi, at 40 seeking next year to become the oldest U.S. Olympic runner of all time, broke the U.S. masters marathon record of 2:13:52.

Biwott, who worked on a dairy farm until 2006 and still owns 10 cows, finished fifth in his previous New York start in 2013. He won the 2012 Paris Marathon.

Keitany, 33, became the first woman to win back-to-back New York marathons since world-record holder Paula Radcliffe in 2007 and 2008.

She clocked 2:24:25, prevailing by 67 seconds over Ethiopian Asefelech Mergia. The top U.S. woman was Laura Thweatt, seventh in 2:28:23, the seventh-fastest time in New York history by an American woman.

In 2014, Keitany prevailed in New York by three seconds, tying the closest women’s finish ever, in her first marathon since giving birth to her second child. She placed fourth at the London Olympics and missed all of 2013 due to childbirth.

The fastest American woman coming into the race, 18-year-old Alana Hadley, dropped out a little past the halfway point. Hadley is too young to be eligible for the 2016 Olympic marathon.

The U.S. Olympic marathon trials are Feb. 13, live on NBC. The top three men’s and women’s finishers earn Rio spots.

“If I’m going to make the Olympic team, I better run a lot faster,” said Keflezighi, who has 104 days to recover before the trials in Los Angeles.

Keflezighi, a four-time Olympian and 2004 marathon silver medalist, won the 2012 Olympic trials in 2:09:08. The third-place finisher at the 2012 trials clocked 2:09:47 and fourth place was 2:09:55.

Even though Keflezighi’s 2:13:32 from Sunday is much slower than that, New York is known as a slower course. Keflezighi ran 2:13:18 in New York last year, in tougher weather conditions. He clocked a personal-best 2:08:37 to win Boston last year, which ranks him No. 2 among Americans across all marathons since he finished fourth at the London Olympics.

Thweatt, whose marathon debut time made her the seventh-fastest U.S. woman since the start of 2013, said she does not plan to race the marathon trials but focus on the U.S. Olympic track and field trials in July.

Tatyana McFadden, an 11-time Paralympic medalist, shattered the women’s wheelchair course record by 7 minutes, 20 seconds. McFadden clocked 1:43:04 for 26.2 miles, completing a sweep of Boston, Chicago, London and New York City marathons for a third straight year.

MORE TRACK AND FIELD: Kenya marathon runner-up arrested for cheating in race

Bernard Lagat commits to Olympic marathon trials, eyes age record

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Bernard Lagat, a 44-year-old, five-time Olympian, reportedly said he will race the Olympic marathon trials on Feb. 29 in a bid to break his own record as the oldest U.S. Olympic runner.

“I feel like I can still improve,” Lagat said, according to Runner’s World. “I’m going to give it my best.”

Lagat, a two-time Olympic 1500m medalist, moved to the marathon after becoming the oldest U.S. Olympic runner in history at the Rio Games, placing fifth in the 5000m.

He clocked 2:17:20 in his 26.2-mile debut at the 2018 New York City Marathon. He lowered it to 2:12:10 at the Gold Coast Marathon in Australia on July 7 but did not previously commit to entering the trials.

If Lagat finishes in the top three at the marathon trials, he is in line to become the third-oldest U.S. Olympic track and field athlete in history. The oldest are race walker John Deni (49 years old in 1952) and hammer thrower Matt McGrath (48 years old in 1924), according to the OlyMADMen.

Lagat ranks outside the top 20 among U.S. marathoners in this Olympic cycle. The fastest are Galen Rupp (2:06:07), Leonard Korir (2:07:56, from Sunday’s Amsterdam Marathon) and Scott Fauble (2:09:09).

No American has competed in six Olympics in track and field. Lagat’s first two Olympic appearances were for Kenya.

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Natalie Geisenberger, Olympic luge champion, will not race this season

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For the first time in eight years, there will be a new World Cup women’s luge champion.

Germany’s Natalie Geisenberger — the seven-time defending champion and two-time defending Olympic singles gold medalist — announced that she isn’t sliding this season because she and her husband are expecting their first child in April.

“Our happiness is on the way,” Geisenberger said on her Facebook page.

Geisenberger plans to return next season and still has hopes to compete at the 2022 Beijing Olympics, where she could match fellow German great Georg Hackl’s feat of winning three consecutive singles golds.

With Geisenberger not sliding this season, the top returning women from last year’s World Cup standings now are Julia Taubitz of Germany and Summer Britcher of the U.S. — second and third, respectively, in 2018-19.

Geisenberger has a luge record-tying four Olympic golds in all, being part of Germany’s victories in the team relays in Sochi in 2014 and Pyeongchang in 2018 as well.

Her 49 World Cup singles wins are another record, and she’s one of two sliders to win seven consecutive World Cup titles — Austria’s Markus Prock took the men’s championships each year from 1990-91 through 1996-97.

Geisenberger’s break from sliding only adds to how the World Cup standings — and the German roster — will look very different this season. Dajana Eitberger, who was fourth in last season’s World Cup standings, is also pregnant and expecting a baby in February. And Tatjana Huefner, who was sixth overall last season, has retired.

Huefner won five consecutive World Cup titles before Geisenberger took over and began her seven-year streak of championships. Geisenberger earned medals 11 times in 12 singles races last year — six golds, four silvers and one bronze.

“We are so happy for you even though we will miss you this season!” two-time Olympic singles gold medalist Felix Loch of Germany wrote in a message to Geisenberger on Instagram.

Geisenberger has been in the top three of the World Cup standings in 12 consecutive seasons. She was third in 2007-08, finished second in each of the next four seasons, and then began her title streak in 2012-13.

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