Kenyans Mutai, Jeptoo Win New York City Marathon

NPR | Nov. 3, 2013 11:52 a.m.

Contributed By:

Eyder Peralta

Runners are screened by police officers as they arrive for the New York City Marathon on Sunday.

Runners are screened by police officers as they arrive for the New York City Marathon on Sunday.

Jason DeCrow, AP

The previous year has been a tough one for the marathon world: First, Hurricane Sandy forced the cancellation of the 2012 New York City Marathon, one of the largest 26.2-mile road races in the world. And then in April, the Boston Marathon, the oldest and most prestigious marathon in the world, was rocked by twin blasts that killed three people and injured more than 200.

Today, more than 45,000 runners are scheduled to hit New York’s five boroughs, perhaps smoothing over some of that history. We’ll update this post once we know who the winners are.

But, for now, we’ll leave you with five things you should know about the race:

— After Boston, security is a huge concern. USA Today reports:

“Instead of a discussion of record times, police and counterterrorism officials outlined a different set of numbers during a Friday news conference. The 1,500 security cameras along the route, 43 bomb-sniffing dogs, an unspecified number of NYPD scuba divers who will scan around the bridges, police helicopters, boats and surveillance towers, and hundreds of officers in uniform and plain clothes equipped with radiation detection gear along the route.”

It’ll be cold (highs in the 50s) and windy. Accuweather says runners will face a 15-25 mph wind, which may be enough to hold back any potential challenge on the course record.

— Speaking of records, the Kenyans are the ones to watch. The New York Times reports:

“The men’s race will probably be led by Geoffrey Mutai, a Kenyan who won in 2011 by finishing in a course-record 2 hours 5 minutes 6 seconds, and Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia, who may be tired after his strong fourth-place performance in the marathon at the world track championships in August. The top American contender is Meb Keflezighi, 38, who won in 2009 but whose training for this year’s race has been checkered with injuries.

“Two Kenyans should lead the pack on the women’s side, going after the decade-old course record of 2:22:31. Priscah Jeptoo has consistently been one of the world’s top marathoners in recent years. She will be challenged by Edna Kiplagat, who won the marathon at the world championships in August. The Bronx resident Buzunesh Deba, an Ethiopian who finished second in the race in 2011, should be a front-runner as well.”

— Another runner to watch: Yuki Kawauchi, a Japanese amateur who has a full-time job yet has managed to run a 2:08:37 marathon. That’s blazingly fast — about a 4:54 pace for all 26.2 miles. Runner’s World caught up with him in New York:

“Despite the fact that he’s now well established as one of Japan’s best, and has won marathons in Egypt and Australia, Kawauchi isn’t going to change that schedule. ‘Each race I run, I learn something new and gain a new experience,’ he said in New York on Friday through a translator.

“‘I do train by myself. Sometimes it’s hard to push myself in the training,’ he said, which means many of his races become akin to hard training runs without any taper. Kawauchi just plain doesn’t think he overdoes it. He usually puts in one two-hour morning session ‘compared with the corporate team runner who trains twice in a day.’ For Kawauchi, ‘the running and the job balance each other well.’

“He’s been called ‘citizen runner’ in the American media, but his Japanese translator said the epithet used is more akin to ‘amateur runner.’ Kawauchi points out, ‘Except for the elite runner, most [runners] are like me, having a full-time job and running as well. They see me as just having a hobby. They consider me their mate.’”

The New York Times put together this cool video, detailing the race by the numbers:

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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