TCS New York City Marathon 2019 Play-by-Play

by Carolyn Mather, writing for Runner’s Gazette

NEW YORK CITY, NOVEMBER 3, 2019—On a morning with perfect weather, the TCS New York City Marathon starts with the elite women taking center stage. Mary Keitany is going for win number five and the course record. There is no wind and temperatures are in the mid-forties with bright sunshine. Conditions do not get any better than this. Over 52,000 runners from all over the world are enjoying this perfect morning. 

About thirty women have started thirty minutes ahead of the rest of the field to the sounds of Frank Sinatra singing “New York, New York.” Shalane Flanagan,  four-time Olympian and winner of this race in 2017, classifies the weather as “a no-excuse day.” Shalane is on the main broadcast team for the race and will bring much expertise and experience to the race coverage.

After three miles in 16:37, the women remain bunched together with no one making a decisive move. They reach the first special fluids zone, and all appear to have retrieved their bottles. Twelve women have reached 5K in 17:12, after mile one at 5:50 and two at 11:10. Desi Linden has been leading, but only by a step. Twenty-five minutes into the race, the ladies are on a 2:25 pace. The pace at four miles (22:11) is more than two minutes faster than last year.   

The elite men and all of Wave 1 start with confetti and the roar of a cannon.

At the same time, the female group now includes Desiree Linden, Sinead Diver, Mary Keitany, Kellyn Taylor, Buze Diriba, Joyciline Jepkosgei, Nancy Kiprop, Ellie Pashley, Belaynesh Fikadu, Mary Ngugi, Ruti Aga and Sara Hall as they pass five in 27:33 and 10K in 33:08. Keitany has taken the lead. Mile seven is 38:30 so the pace is picking up to a predicted 2:24 finish, now three minutes faster than 2018. Desi has taken the lead by about ten meters. 

In the men’s race Shura Kitata has sprinted to a 10-meter lead going up the bridge, gaining a ten-second lead on a pack of 22 men who caught up to him at mile two (5:01 at one and 9:45 at two), with Lelisa Desisa, 2018 champion, taking the lead. The men reach 5K at 15:09, just five seconds behind Geoffrey Mutai’s record pace at the 2011 race when he set the course record of 2:05:06.  

Desi is running away from the women’s field as she has a six-second lead at mile nine (49:30) with mile eight at 44:05 and 15K in 51:10. At ten miles she leads by over 10 seconds, but the trailing pack is starting to close. Miles 11 (1:00:14) and 12 (1:05:28) pass and Desi’s lead is dwindling. Near the halfway point on the Pulaski bridge into Queens, Desi is passed by a group of four led by Mary Keitany (13.1-1:11:39), with Jepkoskei, Kiprop and Aga.

The men have reached five miles (24:35) in a pack of seventeen: Brett Robinson, Birhanu Dari, Shura Kitata, Abdi Abdirahman, Geoffrey Kamworor, Albert Korir, Arne Gabius, Jared Ward, Mustafa Mohamed, Michel Butler, Yoshiki Takenouchi, Stephen Sambu, John Raneri, Tamirat Tola, Andy Vernon, Lelisa Desisa and Daniel Mesfun. They do 10K in 30:32. 

Keitany has upped the pace and is running low five-minute miles and has whittled the group to three with Aga and Jepkosgei by her side as they enter Manhattan. The three leaders have put a twenty-second lead on Kiprop and Linden (15 in 1:21:48).   

Lelisa has dropped out before mile ten (49:06) as fourteen men remain including Ward and Abdi. Kitata is pushing the pace again as Korir takes the lead at the halfway point. Mile eleven (54:10) and 12 (59:05) have Kitata taking a slight lead. Ward with his signature mustache is leading the pack at times as the group of fourteen pass mile fourteen, as halfway was 1:04:49. 

Mile 16 (1:27:16) and 18 (1:38:18) has the three women leading Kiprop and Desi by thirty five seconds. The three women at 30K (1:41:47)  and mile 19 (1:43:45) are one and a half minutes ahead of Keitany’s time from 2018. The women are still on course record pace and the men are not. Shalane says “that is because women are faster.” Aga has dropped back. Sara Hall and Allie Kieffer have officially dropped from the race.   

The men are breaking up as they come off the Queensboro bridge into the noise tunnel of Manhattan. The pack is down to eleven with Ward and Abdi still in the mix.   

Jepkoskei is the world record holder at the half marathon, but this is her first marathon. Keitany has knowledge of the course, but Jepkosgei is hanging tough. The pace has picked up as mile 21(1:54:30) has Aga twelve seconds back. Mile 22 (1:59:57) has the twosome leading Aga by 25 seconds and 90 seconds ahead of fourth place. Jepkoskei has taken the lead with 5K to go and is widening the gap (23-2:05:19).   

The men’s pack is now down to five, with the two Americans now in the second pack. The race has begun. Now only Korir, Tola, Kamworor and Kitata remain at mile 20 (1:38:59). 

Keitany is now 16 seconds back. Jepkosgei may set the course record in her debut at the distance. This is amazing if she hangs on. Jepkosgei looks incredible, but will not get the record, missing it by seconds. She wins her debut in stellar fashion in a time of 2:22:38. Keitany takes second and Aga hangs on for third. Desi is sixth in 2:26:46 with Kellyn Taylor directly behind in seventh, with a 2:26:52. 

In the men’s race Kamworor has taken the lead from Korir. The citizen racer Gebre is closing on Korir. With a time of 2:08:13, Kamworor has his second win and fourth podium finish at the TCS NYC Marathon. Jared Ward finishes sixth and first American in 2:10:45.     

Shalane Flanagan did a magnificent job on the broadcast, finding a new career in both coaching and broadcasting.

Mary Keitany was hoping to get NYC Marathon win 5. Joyciline Jepkosgei had a smashing winning marathon debut in 2:22:38. Ruti Aga of Ethiopia took third, as these three gals were on the podium.
Nancy Kiprop of Kenya matches strides with Desiree Linden of Michigan, just behind the three leaders at mile 16.
Sinead Diver of Australia ran a great race to finish fifth overall and was second master.
Albert Korir leads the elite men into Manhattan. Geoffrey Kamworor, Shura Kitata, Yoshiki Takenouchi, Tamirat Tola, Brett Robinson, and Girma Bekele Gebre #443 give chase.
Daniel Mesfun of Eritrea and Jared Ward of Utah are just behind the large lead pack at mile 16.

Categories: Race Coverage


2 replies

  1. great coverage as always!!!You guys get it!!! Thanks for all your efforts and communicating them so vividly.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent coverage! Concise but felt like “play-by-play”!
    Excellent photos, too, of course!


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