By Marvin A Azrak Despite the number of competitors having been been limited to 33,000 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it truly felt like a homecoming for a New York sporting event that unites the world. The NYC marathon. The 50th version of the race kicked off early Sunday Morning into the late evening on daylight savings day, and it didn’t disappoint featuring comeback stories, compelling debuts, a Kenyan sweep, and inspirational stories that will last until the 2022 event.
Albert Korir(2:08:22) and Peres Jepchirchir(2:22:39) of Kenya took home the male and female titles respectively, but it was especially gratifying for Albert for he finished as the runner-up in Manhattan back in 2019.
Meanwhile, Shalane Flanagan, the 2017 champion, ran her sixth marathon in six weeks made possible because the Boston, London and Tokyo Marathons were pushed from spring to fall due to the pandemic. At 40 years old, she has “Eclipsed marathon history”, and saved her best for last finishing in 2 hours, 33 minutes, and 22 seconds.
But we also saw debuts out of Americans Ben True(Finished 7th), and 44 year-old Adriana Martinez out of Yonkers. Nevertheless, the obstacle these runners set out to overcome that comes with running over multiple bridges in addition to the 26 miles on a brisk Sunday afternoon, allowed inspiration to settle into the mind of Puerto Rican Joel Gonlazez, who will quit smoking and said he will begin training for the 2022 marathon on Monday.
But the real winners on Sunday were Larry Trachtenberg, 67, a former special ed teacher originally from Queens, N.Y, who made history by being the lone original runner from the first NYC marathon back in 1970, and Lewis-Fedorko, 54, contracted the virus just before the holiday season last year fought it and crossed the finish line on Sunday. “With everything last year stacked against me,” it was important to compete this year, she said, stating before the race she didn’t care how long it took her.
What we learned from this us that no matter how fast you are or what level you’re on, you too can step out there, and achieve what these undeterred men & women did today. They achieved their dream of a lifetime.