New York City Marathon

Kikkan Randall
NBC Olympics

Olympic champion Kikkan Randall, cancer survivor, beats NYC Marathon goal

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NEW YORK – Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” blared through the loudspeakers in Central Park as Kikkan Randall crossed the finish line of the New York City Marathon.

The Olympic cross-country skiing champion clocked 2:55:12, easily beating her three-hour goal, just one year after her final round of chemotherapy for stage 2 breast cancer.

“I bet I ran as fast today as I would have last year if I hadn’t had cancer,” Randall said.

Randall immediately received a hug from 1984 Olympic marathon champion Joan Benoit Samuelson, who had texted her advice during training.

“[Cancer] is part of my story, but it’s not the defining thing,” Randall said. “I love being an athlete and facing challenging goals.”

The last 20 months have been a roller coaster for Randall, who will turn 37 on New Year’s Eve.

She won the U.S.’ first cross-country skiing gold medal with Jessie Diggins in the team sprint at her fifth and final Olympics in PyeongChang. She planned on celebrating her retirement from ski racing by running the November 2018 New York City Marathon.

But after a Mother’s Day hike with her husband Jeff Ellis and their 2-year-old son Breck, less than three months after February 2018 Winter Games, she discovered a lump in her right breast. It was later diagnosed as stage 2 breast cancer.

She underwent six rounds of chemotherapy in the summer and fall of 2018. She is “pretty confident” that she has been cancer-free since Nov. 2018.

She remained physically active and even considered keeping her 2018 marathon entry, but instead traveled to New York to support Olympic teammate Liz Stephen.

Last Halloween, bald from chemotherapy, Randall dressed as Mr. Clean.

This Halloween, with trademark pink streaks back in her hair, she went as a unicorn.

Randall ran with Stephen during most of the 2019 race. But with half a mile to go, Randall had enough energy to push the pace and Stephen, who finished 25 seconds later, encouraged her to sprint ahead.

“My engine is still so strong from skiing,” Randall said. “It’s my legs that are like, ‘whoo!’”

Randall will decide in the spring whether she wants to run the 2020 race. In the meantime, she would like to complete an off-road triathlon.

“I love having a goal,” she said.

Crossing the finish line was a feeling Randall did not experience during her PyeongChang triumph, since Diggins completed the final leg of the six-lap race (inspiring the memorable “Here comes Diggins! Here comes Diggins!” call).

“Crossing the finish line in any race, especially when you hit the goal that you want, is such a great feeling,” Randall said. “It makes it worth it.”

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Kenyans Geoffrey Kamworor, Joyciline Jepkosgei win New York City Marathon

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NEW YORK — Geoffrey Kamworor and Joyciline Jepkosgei gave Kenya a sweep of the New York City Marathon men’s and women’s titles on Sunday.

Kamworor won the world’s largest annual marathon for the second time in three years, pulling away from countryman Albert Korir in the final miles. Kamworor, who trains with marathon world-record holder Eliud Kipchoge, finished in 2:08:13 and then immediately embraced Kipchoge, who was in the Central Park crowd.

“I didn’t want to disappoint him,” said Kamworor, who calls the eight-years-older Kipchoge a mentor. “That gave me a lot of motivation. He inspired me a lot during the race.”

Jepkosgei, a half-marathon world-record holder like Kamworor, outdueled four-time NYC champion Mary Keitany. She clocked 2:22:38, the second-fastest female time in race history, to become the first woman to win New York City in her marathon debut since 1994. At 25, she is the youngest female winner since 2001.

Keitany, a 37-year-old bidding to become the oldest female NYC winner since 1987, finished second. She was 54 seconds behind Jepkosgei, who in the last year withdrew before scheduled marathon debuts in Honolulu (ankle) and Hamburg (chose to pace the London Marathon).

“I know Mary had more experience in the marathon, so I was trying to push,” Jepkosgei said.

Olympians Des Linden and Jared Ward were the top Americans, each in sixth place.

Ethiopian Lelisa Desisa, the defending men’s champion, withdrew in the seventh mile, 29 days after winning the world championships marathon in Doha. U.S. Olympic team contender Sara Hall dropped out at mile 18 with stomach issues, 35 days after lowering her personal best by four minutes at the Berlin Marathon.

MORE: 2019 NYC Marathon Results

New York City marked the end of the 2019 major marathon season. Top Americans are now focused on the Olympic Trials in Atlanta on Feb. 29, when the top three per gender are in line to make the Tokyo team.

Most of the U.S. Olympic favorites did not run New York City, it being less than four months before trials. That group includes Rio Olympic bronze medalist Galen Rupp, who withdrew during the Oct. 13 Chicago Marathon with a calf injury in his first race in a year after Achilles surgery.

Ward, a BYU statistics professor who was sixth in Rio, is one of three other U.S. men to break 2:10 in this Olympic cycle. He’s finished in the top 10 of major marathons each of the last three years. Four years ago, Ward deemed his chances of making the Olympic team at 35 percent. He feels they are better this time.

“I wanted something today that solidified the breakthrough that I had in Boston [in April, a personal-best 2:09:25] and establish to myself that I’m a different marathoner going into this Olympic trial cycle, in this Olympic cycle, than I was in the last one,” Ward said. “It was a validating performance.”

The U.S. women are deeper, even with the recent retirement of four-time Olympian Shalane Flanagan. Linden, the 2018 Boston Marathon winner, repeated in the months before New York that she is undecided on running trials in the final years of her career.

“Right now is not the time, just based on how many calves feel and my feet feel,” Linden said when asked about 2020 plans, about an hour after placing in the top eight of an 11th straight marathon since failing to finish at the 2012 London Olympics. “Maybe at 1 a.m. tonight, I’ll have different opinions.”

The U.S. also boasts Jordan Hasay (second-fastest American woman in history), 2017 World bronze medalist Amy Cragg and Molly Huddle, the American record holder at 10,000m.

Earlier Sunday, American Daniel Romanchuk and Swiss Manuela Schar repeated as NYC wheelchair champions.

Romanchuk, 21, followed up a breakthrough 2018 when he became the first U.S. man to win the wheelchair division as well as the youngest male NYC champion in history. Romanchuk won majors in Boston and London in the spring and Chicago and New York City in the fall.

Schar, 34, three-peated as NYC champion to become the first person to sweep all six major city marathons in one year since Tokyo was added to the group in 2017. American Tatyana McFadden, whom Schar supplanted as the dominant female racer, was second, 3:59 behind.

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2019 New York City Marathon Results

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Top-10 and notable results from the 49th New York City Marathon on Nov. 3, 2019. Full, searchable results are here

1. Geoffrey Kamworor (KEN) — 2:08:13
2. Albert Korir (KEN) — 2:08:36
3. Girma Gebre (ETH) — 2:08:38
4. Tamirat Tola (ETH) — 2:09:20
5. Shura Kitata (ETH) — 2:10:39
6. Jared Ward (USA) — 2:10:45
7. Stephen Sambu (KEN) — 2:11:11
8. Yoshiki Takenouchi (JPN) — 2:11:18
9. Abdi Abdirahman (USA) — 2:11:34
10. Connor McMillan (USA) — 2:12:07
Jason Sehorn (USA) — 3:19:26 (Former New York Giants cornerback)
Tiki Barber (USA) — 4:18:24 (Former New York Giants running back)
DNF. Lelisa Desisa (ETH)

1. Joyciline Jepkosgei (KEN) — 2:22:38
2. Mary Keitany (KEN) — 2:23:32
3. Ruti Aga (ETH) — 2:25:51
4. Nancy Kiprop (KEN) — 2:26:21
5. Sinead Diver (AUS) — 2:26:23
6. Des Linden (USA) — 2:26:46
7. Kellyn Taylor (USA) — 2:26:52
8. Ellie Pashley (AUS) — 2:27:07
9. Belaynesh Fikadu (ETH) — 2:27:27
10. Mary Ngugi (KEN) — 2:27:36
Kikkan Randall (USA) — 2:55:12 (Olympic cross-country skiing champion)
DNF. Sara Hall (USA)

MORE: With NYC Marathon done, focus shifts to U.S. Olympic Trials

Men’s Wheelchair
1. Daniel Romanchuk (USA) –1:37:24
2. Marcel Hug (SUI) — 1:37:25
3. David Weir (GBR) — 1:37:28
4. Aaron Pike (USA) — 1:37:33
5. Ernst Van Dyk (RSA) — 1:40:00
6. Johnboy Smith (GBR) — 1:40:01
7. Josh George (USA) — 1:40:01
8. Patrick Monahan (IRL) — 1:40:05
9. Simon Lawson (GBR) — 1:40:06
10. Jordi Jimenez (ESP) — 1:40:08

Women’s Wheelchair
1. Manuela Schar (SUI) — 1:44:20
2. Tatyana McFadden (USA) — 1:48:19
3. Susannah Scaroni (USA) — 1:51:37
4. Amanda McGrory (USA) — 1:55:44
5. Christie Dawes (AUS) — 2:00:11
6. Vanessa De Souza (BRA) — 2:00:15
7. Jenna Fesemyer (USA) — 2:00:30
8. Shelly Woods (GBR) — 2:04:44
9. Michelle Wheeler (USA) — 2:06:05
10. Arielle Rausin (USA) — 2:06:08

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MORE: 2019 Boston Marathon Results