Although at this writing there are still thousands of runners still out on the course, the winners are already back in their hotel rooms icing down and enjoying their spoils. And enjoy them, they should. It was after all a great race with a great finish--the closest in history. The winner, the world record holder, edged the defending champion by less than a third of a second.
Kenya's Paul Tergat held off Hendrick Ramaala of South Africa and American Meb Keflezighi in a final burst of speed to win the ING New York City Marathon. The final mile was an all-guts-out sprint. Yep. A sprint. That really tells you everything, doesn't it? A sprint? After running twenty-six five-minute miles! Oy veh! That's insane. After this last spring's Country Music Marathon, I was happy just to limp pitifully in the final mile. The thought of sprinting hurts even as I type these words, safe and comfortable as I am in my library.
Women's winner Jelena Prokopcuka of Latvia had a slightly easier time, pulling away from struggling Kenyan Susan Chepkemei as they re-entered Central Park and winning by 14 seconds to earn a marathon-record prize of $130,000. The top American woman was Marie Davenport--finishing 16th in 2:33:59. Jen Rhines was 18th in 2:37:07.
The New York Marathon is an extraordinary spectacle--as might be expected given the fact that New York is an extraordinary city. To run this race is one of my life goals. Indeed, the thought of running through all five boroughs while pushing myself to the very limit of human endurance along with thousands of others, well, it is just one of those "gotta do this at least once" kind of things.