NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wilson Kipsang won a lucrative duel to the finish to join compatriot Mary Keitany in a Kenyan sweep of the men’s and women’s races at a cold, windy New York City Marathon on Sunday.
Kipsang and Keitany both pulled away in the last Central Park stretch, with Kipsang’s victory bringing him a $600,000 payday as the win also gave him the $500,000 World Marathon Majors bonus.
“Of course I was thinking about it,” Kipsang said about the bonus. “My only chance to win the jackpot was to win this race. I was trying to apply all the tactics to make sure I would win.”
With temperatures around 42 degrees Fahrenheit (6 Celsius) and wind gusting to 40 miles per hour (64 kph), some 50,000 runners set off in the world’s largest marathon on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in Staten Island.
Runners wore ski hats or head bands over their ears and some pulled on sleeves or knee-high socks to deal with the elements that eased during the course of the 26.2-mile (42.2 km) race.
Conditions led to deliberate, tactical races that did not see the leading packs break up until after the 20-mile mark.
Kipsang, the London Marathon champion running the New York race for the first time, ran shoulder to shoulder with Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia over the last few miles.
In the final half mile, Desisa snuck ahead of Kipsang, who turned on a final burst to claim victory.
Kipsang crossed the finish line in two hours 10 minutes 55 seconds to win the $100,000 first-place price and catapult past compatriot Dennis Kimetto to win the massive bonus.
Desisa, the 2013 Boston Marathon winner, who said he felt discomfort from missing a bathroom stop, faded at the last and finished 11 seconds behind Kipsang, with fellow Ethiopian Gebre Gebremariam, the 2010 New York champion, third in 2:12:13.
Keitany won an exhilarating duel with compatriot Jemima Sumgong to claim the women’s crown.
The 2012 London Marathon winner, whose best New York showing was third place in 2011, edged ahead of Sumgong in the last two miles of the race that covers all five New York City boroughs.
Keitany, whose best New York showing was third place in 2011, widened her lead at the end as she crossed the line in 2:25:07, three seconds ahead of Sumgong in tying the closest women’s finish in the New York race.
The winner started her push at the 20-mile mark.
“I knew we still have only five miles to go. So I say let me push in and dig in in order to be in good position,” said Keitany.
Said Sumgong: “My target was to win, but it was Mary’s day.”
Portugal’s marathon debutante Sara Moreira finished third in 2:26:00.
Tennis player Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, who finished her season last week ranked eighth in the world, completed her first marathon in 3:26:33 while running for a charity that benefits youth runners.
Editing by Frank Pingue