|The Marathon finish line in Central Park. Photo by Jason Schott.
At the TCS New York City Marathon on Sunday, Ghirmay Ghebreslassie of Eritrea won on the men's side for the first time, while Mary Kheitany won her third title on the women's side.
Ghebreslassie won it with a time of 2:07:51, edging out Lucas Rotich of Kenya, who finished in 2:08: 53, and Abdi Abdirahman of the United States, who had a time of 2:11:23.
Ghebeeslassie said of what it means to him to be the first winner of this New York Marathon from Eritrea, "As I won for the first time in the World Championships, the first from Eritrea. So today it's the first time -- nobody has won any major marathon from Eritrea. It's just like the championship for me to be a winner in this race. So I'm really proud of it."
Mile 17 was when Ghebeeslassie really began to push the pace, and he said of possibly sensing at that time his competitors falling off a little bit and fading, "As I explained in the last press conference, I didn't interest for everyone to win the race, what can happen. Whether they beat me or not, it doesn't matter to me.
"In order to race them all, in order to race me, it's not good for us during the race. What I mean is I believe that to run only for time. If I run well with the time, I can be on position. That's why I prefer with the pacer. It's a little bit faster."
Ghebeeslassie was very confident coming into this race, and he ran very confidently. On what made him so confident coming into this, he said, "As we know, if you lose your confidence, you lose everything. What you did in training, also what you are going to do in the race, you can lose everything. So in order to be -- in order to achieve what you need during the race and before, you must have full confidence. If you lose your confidence means you are hopeless. If you lose your hope, you can't do anything.
"That's why I believe to have my confidence first. All what I did in training in relation to the systems that I use during the race can make me to be the winner. I believe that anyone must be confident before."
On the women's side, Mary Keitany, of Kenya, won with a time of 2:24:26. She edged out a pair of Americans, Sally Kipyego (2:28:01) and Molly Huddle (2:28:13).
Keitany is the first runner to have won three consecutive races, and she said of that remarkable achievement, "It means a lot to me. I'm very excited that I got it again, three times. I know that it's not easy, but I got it. So it means a lot to me. And also, my family, my God, and everybody there at home."
Keitany said of how she was able to be so dominant in this race, "This was faster than the race in the last New York City Marathon. I'm happy to be here again. I have to say I'm very excited this morning because I did well again in the U.S., and I'm saying actually today I think I was very focused on this race since my preparation was very okay at home.
"Since I didn't get to go to Rio, I had enough time to train, and now I'm happy for this event. Thank you."
Keitany was greeted by her kids at the end of the race as she reached the finish line, and said of that, "When I was crossing the line, I was seeing my kids just around there, and I think they were cheering me, and I was happy for them to be in New York for the first time since they accompany me and cheer. They have just cheered me. And this morning my daughter was just telling me, mom, good luck and try not to fell down like what I did in London. So I tell my child, let me just try my best. Pray for me. When I crossed the line, she was happy. Ultimately, I was happy too."