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Gebrmariam, Kiplagat Win New York 2010

NEW YORK – November 7, 2010   – For almost a decade, the organizers of the ING New York City Marathon have tried to get Geb to come to the Big Apple and win their race. On Sunday at the 41st edition, they got their wish – sort of.

It was the “wrong” Geb from Ethiopia – Gebre Gebrmariam, rather than the legendary world record holder and two-time Olympic gold medalist Haile Gebrselassie, who took the laurels, clocking 2 hours, 8 minutes, 14 seconds, the seventh fastest time in race history, in his first crack at the 26.2 mile distance.

But even that impressive debut victory by the 2009 World Cross Country champ was pushed from the limelight by his elder countryman, who dropped out of the race on the Queensboro Bridge at 16 miles, then later stunned the assembled media by announcing his retirement.

“I never think about to retire,” a tearful Gebrselassie said. “But for the first time, this is the day. Let me stop and do other work after this. Let me do other job. Let me give a chance for the youngsters.”

If Gebrselassie, 37, has left some big shoes to fill, his younger countryman seems ready to step in. The 26-year-old ran confidently and smoothly, never took the lead until the course entered Central Park at 24 miles and quickly opened a gap on Kenyans Emmanuel Mutai and James Kwambai. It was almost a replay of last year’s victory by Meb Keflezighi, who became the first American to win at New York in 27 years, as Gebremariam was able to savor the victory over the last mile, waving to the crowd on the final uphill stretch to the line. “I never expected to win,” he admitted.

Keflezighi, 35, who fell back when Mutai tossed in the typical New York surge on First Avenue, rallied over the last six miles to grab sixth in 2:11:38. Fellow U.S. Olympians Dathan Ritzenhein (eighth, 2:12:33) and Jorge Torres (11th, 2:14:57) were the other top Americans behind 2004 Olympic silver medalist Keflezighi.

The USA’s fortunes were a bit brighter on the women’s side, where two-time Olympian Shalane Flanagan made her highly-anticipated marathon debut a successful one, placing second in 2:28:40, just 20 seconds behind winner Edna Kiplagat. Flanagan’s runner-up position was the highest place by a U.S. woman here since 1990 when Kim Jones also was runner-up.

Flanagan, 29, who won a 10,000m bronze medal in Beijing 2008, ran a smart, controlled race the whole way. The conservative pace (1:15:45 at halfway) also played to her favor, and once the large lead pack thinned in Manhattan and the Bronx, it was Flanagan, 2010 Honda LA Marathon champion Kiplagat and fellow marathon debutante Mary Keitany who remained as the leaders re-entered Harlem for the last five miles.

Flanagan even took the lead as they climbed Fifth Avenue before entering Central Park, but fell back shortly thereafter as the two Africans surged away. However, she quickly fought back and caught Keitany to secure second, and no sooner had she crossed the finish than her thoughts turned to her next venture over the distance. “As soon as I got second I thought about what I could do to get first,” she said. “It is definitely addictive.”

In addition to her impressive runner-up debut, Flanagan won the women’s USA marathon title, which was conducted as a race-within-a-race. Katie McGregor, in 11th place, clocking 2:31:01, a 13-second PR, was the national runner-up which also earned the Team USA Minnesota athlete the 2010 USA Running Circuit grand prix crown. Kathy Newberry was third in the USA Championship in 2:35:23, while the ageless and 1996 Olympic marathoner Linda Somers Smith, 49, was ninth American in 2:40:46.

A record field of 45,350 starters crossed the line in Staten Island under chilly, breezy conditions. As usual, that number included several celebrities, but none who had gained the pre-race attention of Edison Peña, one of the 33 rescued Chilean miners who had run in a mine tunnel while he was trapped underground for 69 days. In spite of running more than four times his longest distance, Peña finished in 5:40:51, with ice wrapped around his knees.

41st ING New York City Marathon: USA Women’s Championship
New York, NY, Sunday, November 7, 2010

1) Gebre Gebrmariam (ETH), 2:08:14, $165,000
2) Emmanuel Mutai (KEN), 2:09:18, $95,000
3) Moses Kigen Kipkosgei (KEN), 2:10:39, $50,000
4) Abderrahim Goumri (MAR), 2:10:51, $35,000
5) James Kwambai (KEN), 2:11:31, $15,000
6) Meb Keflezighi (USA / CA), 2:11:38, $10,000
7) Marilson Gomes dos Santos (BRA), 2:11:51, $7000
8.) Dathan Ritzenhein (USA / OR), 2:12:33, $5000
9) Abel Kirui (KEN), 2:13:01, $2000
10) Abderrahime Bouramdane (MAR), 2:14:07, $1000
Other U.S.
11) Jorge Torres (USA / CO), 2:14:57
13) Tim Nelson (USA / OR), 2:15:06, debut

1) Edna Kiplagat (KEN), 2:28:20, $135,000
2) Shalane Flanagan (USA / OR), 2:28:40, $110,000
3) Mary Keitany (KEN), 2:29:01, $40,000
4) Inga Abitova (RUS), 2:29:17, $25,000
5) Kim Smith (NZL), 2:29:28, $15,000
6) Christelle Daunay (FRA), 2:29:29, $10,000
7) Ludmila Petrova, 42, RUS, 2:29:41, $10,000
8.) Caroline Rotich (KEN), 2:29:46, $5000
9) Madai Perez (MEX), 2:29:53, $2000
10) Buzunesh Deba (ETH), 2:29:55, $1000
Other U.S.
11) Katie McGregor (USA / MN), 2:31:01, $25,000
17) Kathy Newberry (USA / MI), 2:35:23, $20,000
19) Serna Burla (USA / MO), 2:37:06, $15,000
20) Alissa McKaig (USA / NC), 2:37:29, $12,000
22) Wendi Ray (USA / WI), 2:39:15, $10,000
23) Jeanette Faber (USA / MA), 2:39:41, $8000
24) Sheri Piers (USA / ME), 2:40:35, $5000
25) Linda Somers Smith, 49, USA / CA, 2:40:46, $6000
27) Sally Meyerhoff (USA / AZ), 2:41:00, $3000
28) Kristin Barry (USA / ME), 2:42:01, $2500
30) Rachel Booth (USA / CA), 2:43:36, $2000
31) Heidi Westover (USA / NH), 2:43:44, $1500
32) Ann Alyanak (USA / OH), 2:43:58, $1000
33) Melisa Christian (USA / TX), 2:44:23, $1000

Gebrmariam, Kiplagat Win ING New York City Marathon

Flanagan runner-up and USA marathon champion in debut; 41st edition draws record starter field of 45,350; Gebrselassie retires as competitive runner
By Jim Gerweck, Running USA wire

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