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Amazing Race!

November 8th, 2011

2011 NYC Marathon winner Geoffrey Mutai. Photo credit: AP/Kathy Willens

Amazing Race!

November 8, 2011 — The ING New York City Marathon was held this past Sunday with over 47,000 people from all over the world running this hilly 26.2 mile race!

It visits all five boroughs of New York City (Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, the Bronx, and Brooklyn).  Click here for a great map of the course.

Some come to win it and set records, some try for their personal best, and some just hope to finish. And there are thousands upon thousands who line the course from start to finish to cheer the runners on.

The men’s winner, Kenya’s Geoffrey Mutai (pronounced: Joff-ree Moo-tie), set a record on the NYC course finishing the race in 2 hours, 5 minutes, and 6 seconds.  Mutai was averaging 4.7 minute miles for over 26 miles (though actual times change throughout the course). That’s amazing. Most people don’t run 5-minute miles for even one mile! He also has the fastest time ever for a marathon at 2 hours, 3 minutes, 2 seconds (which he ran in Boston a few months ago but which didn’t count in the record books for technical reasons because of the course).


2011 NYC Marathon Winner Geoffrey Mutai. Photo credit: Flickr user ccho via CC

He beat the second place finisher, Emmanuel Mutai (also from Kenya, with the same last name, but they’re not related), by 1 minute and 23 seconds. It doesn’t sound like much, but in marathon running it’s considered to be quite a margin.  In the men’s race, a pack of 10 or 11 men ran together for much of the race until they peeled away one-by-one leaving Geoffrey Mutai as the front-runner.

The women’s race played out quite differently. Also from Kenya, Mary Keitany had a big lead the entire race — until almost the very end when she lost steam and Ethiopia’s Firehiwot Dado (pronounced: Fire-whot Dad-o) caught up and passed her. Dado’s winning time was 2 hours, 23 minutes and 15 seconds. It was her first NYC marathon (though she’s run and won others before).

Women's winner Firehiwot Dado. Photo credit: Flickr user ccho via CC

Even the elite athletes who specialize in marathon running admit it isn’t easy. Most, if not all runners hit a “wall” at one point, when their body gets so fatigued that it makes them want to stop, or at least slow down. Some get injured, cramp up, or throw up along the way. Some just need a little break. It’s a real test for mind and body.

Taking a break at mile 19. Photo credit: Claudia Heitler

Eight-time Olympic speedskating medalist, Apolo Anton Ohno and Olympic middle-distance runner, Lauren Fleshman, also ran the event (with really good times). But Ms. Fleshman lost a toenail toward the end and was in so much pain she wondered, “Why would anybody want to do this?” She may have to answer her own question, she’s considering doing it again! You can read about her experience on her website and even submit questions to her.

The winners receive prize money. Geoffrey Mutai won $200,000 including a bonus for breaking the record. But for the other 99.9% it’s to be able to say they did it. For some others it’s a chance to raise money for charity (which is how many people get to enter the race).

Everyone who finishes gets a medal. And while the winners get big articles written about them with pictures, those who finished in under 5 hours got their name printed in The New York Times newspaper. 35,399 did it in under five hours this year. The names took up 14 pages!

Names in The NYTimes and medal. Photo credit: Claudia Heitler

Congratulations to all who ran and did their best … including those who not only ran it but somehow managed to dribble a basketball throughout!

Mile 23. Photo credit: Claudia Heitler

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