The weather has finally cooled off and the leaves are falling. That can only mean one thing: It’s fall marathon season. And few marathons are as prestigious as the TCS New York City Marathon. While winding through the five boroughs on November 4, runners will be cheered on by throngs of eager fans, hoping to catch a glimpse of greatness.
It’s no wonder the crowds turn out for the NYC Marathon. This year’s male and female champions will each pocket $100,000—and they could earn even more if they reach specific time standards. The prize money, coupled with the cool weather, excellent course and top-notch race management, make the NYC Marathon a popular race for elite and recreational runners. So which women will be eyeing the prize on November 4? Here are the elite storylines we advise you watch:
Look Out For: Shalane Flanagan
If you hadn’t heard the name Shalane Flanagan prior to last year’s NYC Marathon, you likely did once she took home the 2017 title, cruising across the finish line with a fist pump and an expletive. Flanagan’s a crowd favorite and she’s said her training has been solid leading up to the race. Expect her to defend her title with as much grit as she displayed during last year’s race.
Keep An Eye On: Mary Keitany And Vivian Cheruiyot
Mary Keitany won the NYC Marathon in 2014, 2015 and 2016. After a runner-up finish to Flanagan last year, she will be looking to regain that top spot this November. Keitany has a personal best of 2:17:01 in the marathon, giving her the title as the second-fastest female marathoner of all time. Most likely, she’ll be racing alongside fellow Kenyan, Vivian Cheruiyot. Just last month, Cheruiyot ran her all-time best in the half marathon; and her 2:18:31 marathon PR is good for the fourth-fastest time ever. Incidentally, she set that PR at the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon—a race that saw Keitany uncharacteristically falter and fade to fifth.
Don’t Count Out: Des Linden
Des Linden rose to the top of the running world when she won the Boston Marathon this past spring. The weather in Boston and Linden’s resulting finish time was a poor reflection of her fitness, as she’s undoubtedly one of the fastest American female runners at present. However, Linden recently switched coaches and is now training under her former coach, Walt Drenth. After 13 years with Hansons-Brooks, it’s hard to tell if she’s adjusted to Drenth and is training at top level. But if she is, New York is in for a great race.
Other Americans To Root For: Molly Huddle And Stephanie Bruce
In her 2016 marathon debut, Molly Huddle placed third in the New York City Marathon. She’s had a lot of success as a long-distance track athlete but has yet to have a breakthrough in the marathon. The talent is certainly there. If Molly can stay consistent and relaxed early on, she could be a surprise contender in the race. Similarly, look for Stephanie Bruce in the mix. Bruce placed 10th at last year’s NYC Marathon and has had an impressive 2018 season, including a third-place finish at the USATF Outdoor Championships 10,000m and a win at the USA 10K Championships over the summer at the Atlanta Peachtree Road Race.
Regardless of who you’re rooting for, be sure to tune in to the TCS New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 4. If you’re local, you can catch it on ABC7NY, starting at 9 a.m. EST. For the rest of the nation, the race is available on EPSN2 or the Watch ESPN app, starting at 9:30 a.m.