Jepkosgei’s N.Y.C. Marathon Upset Caps a Year of Leaps and Turmoil

The New York City Marathon completed with out controversy on Sunday on a pristine autumn day.

Joyciline Jepkosgei of Kenya received the ladies’s race in supreme long-distance operating situations, finishing her debut within the 26.2-mile race in 2 hours 22 minutes 38 seconds, seven seconds off the course document. She edged out Mary Keitany, 37, additionally of Kenya, denying her a fifth title. It was the quickest debut within the ladies’s race.

Jepkosgei is the world-record holder within the half-marathon, however the race on Sunday was her first main marathon.

“I knew Mary had more experience in marathon, so I was trying to push,” Jepkosgei stated. She added that she was trying again in the course of the previous few miles to see if her opponent would catch up.

In the lads’s race, Geoffrey Kamworor, 26, additionally of Kenya, broke the tape on the end line in 2:08:13. He completed third in 2018 after successful in 2017.

“About 24 miles, I saw I was able to go, and I was feeling strong,” Kamworor stated. “That’s when I decided to pull away.”

Before that time, he ran principally with a pack of a number of runners. Albert Korir of Kenya completed second in 2:08:36. Girma Bekele Gebre of Ethiopia completed third in 2:08:38.

The marathon was the final main competitors on the operating calendar. The world’s finest runners will now flip their focus to the 2020 Olympics. In the United States, the Olympic trials marathon is scheduled for Feb. 29 in Atlanta.

The triumphant finishes rounded out a tumultuous yr within the sport that typically mirrored, and generally fueled, broader debates each social and in any other case.

It was a yr by which operating needed to confront thorny questions. Who counts as a girl? What do these ladies deserve in phrases of compensation, and who’s preserving them from getting it? There had been even debates about what counts as a world document, and what counts as a correct shoe.

“This year had a lot of big breakthroughs that wound up transcending the running community,” stated Hawi Keflezighi, the observe and discipline agent whose brother, Meb, was one of America’s prime distance runners of the trendy period. “There were a lot of discussions about fairness in the sport, whether it’s around shoes or gender. You have all these amazing athletes who are so dominant and admired and connecting with fans. We’re following them closer and getting to know them and their journeys and their challenges. Everyone can have an opinion. They’re simple questions but not simple issues. People’s lives and careers are at stake.”

Controversy followed Nike. During the world championships in Doha on Sept. 30, Alberto Salazar, the former champion runner and famed coach, was barred for four years from the sport after being found guilty of doping violations by the United States Anti-Doping Agency. Ten days later, Nike shut down Salazar’s team, the Nike Oregon Project, which trained some of the best athletes in the United States, including the Olympic medalist Galen Rupp and the woman with the second fastest American marathon time, Jordan Hasay.

Then came an incredible weekend for the sport last month. In a run through a park in Vienna on Oct. 12, Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya broke the two-hour barrier in the marathon, finishing in 1 hour 59 minutes 40 seconds. The performance followed through on Kipchoge’s prerace musings: “I don’t know where the limits are, but I would like to go there.”

The limits were stretched significantly by science and other support. Kipchoge received fuel as he ran and had pacers blocking the wind. He wore a pair of unreleased shoes with Nike’s patented carbon plate. The effort, which captivated the world, was a time trial rather than a race, and was therefore not counted as an official world record, which already holds: He ran a 2:01:39 at the Berlin Marathon last year. This year in Berlin, in a nearly overlooked event, Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia came within two seconds of breaking Kipchoge’s mark.

The day after Kipchoge’s breakthrough time, another Kenyan in Nike’s new shoes, Brigid Kosgei, shattered the woman’s world record at the Chicago Marathon.

“I wanted to be the second Kipchoge — the Kipchoge for women,” she said.

The two performances catapulted a conversation that had been happening in professional running circles for three years into the wider public: Are races being won by the best athletes — or the best shoes? Right now, the carbon plates in the expensive Nike-patented shoes are seemingly so good at what they’re designed to do — help whoever’s wearing them to go faster — that any athlete wearing them has a significant advantage over those not wearing them. The I.A.A.F. quickly appointed a task force to come up with shoe guidelines.

With the 2020 Olympics on the horizon, the volume of the debates will likely rise. A sport that can seem so simple, as it did on the streets of New York, Sunday, is proving to be anything but.

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