On a nearly perfect Sunday to run through the five boroughs, Joyciline Jepkosgei, 26, of Kenya, won the 2019 New York City Marathon in 2:22:38, a record time for a debut at 26.2 miles on the course.

Mary Keitany of Kenya who has won the New York City Marathon four times, was second in 2:23:32, and Ruti Aga of Ethiopia was third in 2:25:51.

Joyciline Jepkosgei and Mary Keitany celebrate their first and second place finishes at the 2019 New York City Marathon.
PHOTO: Jen Ator
Joyciline Jepkosgei and Mary Keitany celebrate their first and second place finishes at the 2019 New York City Marathon.

The temperature was 45 degrees with just a light breeze under sunny skies—what many pro runners welcomed as an opportunity to run aggressively a little earlier than is typical on New York’s hilly terrain. Desiree Linden, who led the race for several miles before the half, was the first American to finish—she was sixth in 2:26:46. Kellyn Taylor was seventh in 2:26:52.

“I know the back half of the course is tough, but I honestly was eyeing up the American course record here,” Linden said. “It was a perfect day—we had a little bit of tailwind in the early miles and I thought I’d take a crack at having a good one. I paid for it…and Kara [Goucher’s] course record lives on.”

READ: Des Linden Take a Big Swing at the 2019 New York City Marathon

It was Jepkosgei’s first stab at a 26.2-mile race, though she showed tremendous promise in her young career. She is also the world record holder for the half marathon—1:04:51, set in the 2017 in Valencia. Jepkosgei just missed the course record of 2:22:31.

“I didn’t know I won it,” Jepkosgei said. “My strategy which I had planned was to finish the race strong. But in some kilometers, last kilometers, I see that I’m approaching the finish line and I was capable to win.”

 

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Keitany, 37, is the world record holder for the women’s only marathon—2:17:01, set in London in 2017. Aga, 25, of Ethiopia is also the 2019 Tokyo Marathon champion, who has a 2:18:34 personal best.

Keitany had been going for her fifth victory and also had hinted at going for the course record prior to the race. It didn’t pan out for her, but she said she was satisfied with the runner-up position.

“I said that I’m happy with my results of today because I tried my best and the results that came up is okay for me,” she said. “I celebrate my colleague and we are happy that we take the winning back home.”

Jepkosgei, who put in a surge to shake Keitany at mile 23, takes home $100,000 for first place. She said she was not nervous for her first crack at 26.2 miles.

“Throughout this race, I didn’t have any pressure at all,” she said. “I was running my own race, but at long last, I become a winner.”