Written by: Shannon Polk, Kudos Team Contributor
The New York City Marathon has a rich history dating back to 1970, when the first NYC Marathon was held in Central Park with only 127 registrants. Since then, it has grown to over 50,000 participants from around the world, united in their desire to go the distance and cross the finish line. Of course, for the elite athletes, it’s not just about crossing the finish line—it’s about who crosses first. Let’s take a look at the competition in this year’s race:
In the men’s elite running field, Geoffrey Kamworor (KEN) is returning to see if he can defend his NYC title, winning his first marathon with a time of 2:10:53 last year. He will be competing against five-time Olympian Bernard Lagat (USA), who is making his marathon debut at the age of 43, and four-time Olympian Abdi Abdirahman (USA), who finished seventh last year. Others to watch include Lelisa Desisa (ETH), who claimed third place at last year’s NYC Marathon; Shura Kitata (ETH), who finished second at the 2018 London Marathon, Shadrack Biwott (KEN), who took third at the 2018 Boston Marathon; Tamirat Tola (ETH), who came in third at the 2018 Dubai Marathon; and Daniel Wanjiru (KEN), who won the 2017 London Marathon. Impressive, right?
So what about the elite women runners? Shalane Flanagan (USA) is top of mind as she, like Kamworor, returns in an attempt to repeat last year’s victory, finishing in 2:26:53. She will be up against compatriots Des Linden, winner of the 2018 Boston Marathon; Molly Huddle, third-place finisher of the 2016 NYC Marathon; Allie Kieffer, fifth-place finisher of the 2017 NYC Marathon; and Sarah Sellers, who took everyone by surprise with her second-place finish at this year’s Boston Marathon. But Flanagan’s toughest competition will likely be three-time NYC Marathon champion Mary Keitany (KEN), who finished second last year, ending her three-year winning streak. Also competing are 2018 London Marathon champion Vivian Cheruiyot (KEN) and third-place 2017 NYC Marathon finisher Mamitu Daska (ETH).
In the men’s wheelchair division, Kurt Fearnley (AUS) is hoping to secure his sixth NYC Marathon title. His competition includes 2017 NYC Marathon champion Marcel Hug (SUI) and 2018 London Marathon champion David Weir (ENG). For the women’s wheelchair competition, Tatyana McFadden (USA) will be looking to redeem herself after a surprising seventh-place finish at this year’s Chicago Marathon. She will have to fiercely compete against Manuela Schär (SUI), who won the 2018 Chicago Marathon and last year’s NYC Marathon. Click here to see the full list of elite athletes competing this year.
If you’re participating in this year’s NYC Marathon, good luck and kudos to you! And if you’re supporting someone and wondering about gifts for runners, consider the Kudos Coaster Plus! This two-in-one gift—a race medal holder and a drink coaster—is a great way to celebrate and remember such a significant accomplishment.