2013 New York City Marathon: Live coverage

03 Nov 2013 Posted by

The 2013 New York City Marathon: Live splits and commentary

Geoffrey Mutai and Priscah Jeptoo have won the New York Marathon, in contrasting, but equally impressive styles.

Mutai, the defending champion, ran patiently, and made two big moves.  The first split a large group shortly after the race hit Manhattan (around 25km), and the second, with around 7 km to go,  finally broke the resistance of Kebede, Biwott and April.  His winning time of 2:08: 24 was well off his course record from 2011 (2:05:06), but this was not a day for fast times, but victories.  He controlled the race and gave the impression of barely needing to extend himself to win.  In second, and probably as happy, was Tsegay Kebede, who banked a bonus of $500,000 for winning the World Marathon Major title.  Third was Lusapho April, a South African with a great breakthrough run.

On the women’s side, Priscah Jeptoo produced an exceptional second half to reel in Buzunesh Deba of Ethiopia, who led from the gun, built a lead of 3:30 at halfway, but couldn’t quite hold off the world’s premier female marathon runner.  Jeptoo’s second half, in windy conditions, through the park, was 69:07.  Quite incredible, giving her a 2:25:07.  Deba did hang on for second, running halves of 1:12:28 and 1:13:18 for a 2:25:56.  Her slight second half slow down (40 seconds), combined with Jeptoo’s unbelievable second half, was the difference.  A fast finishing Jelena Prokupchuka was third.

Below are the splits as the race happened.  More to come later.  Enjoy!




Men’s race

5km: 15:42, 3:08/km, projecting 2:12:30

10km: 30:53 (last 5km in 15:11, 3:02/km).  Projected time 2:10:19

15km: 46:06 (last 5km in 15:13, 3:03/km).  Projecting a 2:09:41

20km: 61:43 (last 5km in 15:37, 3:07/km).  Projecting a 2:10:12

Halfway: 65:06 (projecting 2:10:12)

25km: 1:17:02 (last 5km in 15:19, 3:04/km).  Projected 2:10:01

30km: 1:31:41 (last 5 km in 14:39, 2:56/km).  Projected 2:08:57

35km: 1:46:44 (last 5km in 15:03, 3:01/km).  Projected 2:08:40

40km: 2:01:32 (last 5km in 14:48, 2:58/km).  Projected 2:08:12

Finish: 2:08:24


Women’s race

5km: 17:33 (3:31/km), projecting 2:28:06

10km: 34:44 (last 5km in 17:11, 3:26/km). Now projecting 2:26:33

15km: 51:43 (last 5km in 16:59, 3:24/km).  Projected time 2:25:29

20km: 68:51 (last 5km in 17:08, 3:26/km).  Projecting 2:25:11

Halfway: 1:12:38 (Jeptoo was 1:16, incidentally)

25km: 1:26:28 (last 5km in 17:37, 3:31/km).  Projects a 2:25:56

30km: 1:43:30 (last 5km in 17:02, 3:24/km).  Projected time 2:25:34

35km: 2:01:05 (last 5km in 17:35, 3:07/km). Projected 2:25:58

40km: 2:17:54 (last 5km in 16:49, 3:22/km). Projected 2:25:28 (now Jeptoo)

Finish: 2:25:07 (Jeptoo’s second half an incredible 69:07)



Race commentary


Geoffrey Mutai has the race won.  He surged at around 37km and Biwott was quickly gapped.  So the scene now is a lot like it was in 2011 – Mutai running solo through the park on route to a win.  His second half will also be impressive, but the conditions were never going to allow a repeat of the 2:05 from 2011.  The last 5km, which did the damage, were 14:48.


The men’s race has now split, and it’s down to two.  Mutai and Biwott are clear, with April (the lone non-east African).  Now it’s Mutai, just shy of the 35km mark, with a very aggressive move.  Don’t engrave the winner’s name just yet – remember London where the lead changed half a dozen times in the last ten kilometers.  But Mutai is the aggressor and Biwott is hanging in there.

In the women’s race, the lead is now down to one minute, Deba over Jeptoo.  With 7km to go, the catch is likely to come in Central Park.  Jeptoo has knocked 2:45 off in the last 14km, and so that’s 15 seconds per kilometer.  Brace yourselves…


The men have indeed ramped it up – 14:39 for the last five kilometer, and it has done some damage.  There are still seven in the lead group, including Mutai, Kebede and Biwott, with Kiprotich hanging onto the back.  But, we saw the same from him in London last year and he went on to win the Olympic gold.  The projected time has dropped – it’s now 2:08:57, thanks to that fast segment.

The women’s race is now building nicely.  Pre-race favorite Priscah Jeptoo has narrowed the gap to under 2 minutes.  The final 10km will be very interesting.  Deba has also finally cracked Tigist, having front-run the entire race.  It now seems a race to see if Jeptoo can finish fast enough to make up that deficit.  At halfway, incidentally, Jeptoo was timed at 1:16:00.  Currently, Deba is on course for a 2:25, and so Jeptoo needs a 69-min second half, as predicted earlier.  That would be an incredible run through Central Park, which is not exactly flat.


In the men’s race, the first major “casualty” is Martin Lel, who has been dropped from the front group.  The others are there – Mutai, Kebede, Biwott and Kiprotich all in attendance.  It’s still 2:10 pace.

Deba and Tigist have slowed slightly in the last 5km, and the gap has come down as Jeptoo begins the chase.  However, they crossed the bridge onto Manhattan, so the pace is understandable.


The pace on the men’s side is steady, but not spectacular.  That should change as they hit First Avenue, which is where it always gets aggressive.  That’s where Mutai made the move last year, and Gebremariam the year before, so expect fireworks in a few minutes.

The lead women (Deba and Tigist of Ethiopia) will take a 3-min head start into the second half of the race. They are running 2:25:15 pace, and so the chase pack is on a 2:31, very slow.  The implication of this is that even if the leading women cannot speed up (which they should be able to do off this pace), they will run a 72 min second half, and the chasers will need to run 69 min.  Unless there is aggression from behind soon, Deba and Tigist are looking like they may have stolen this race.  Should be a fascinating final 10km – the lead will be coming down all the time, but this is a big gap to allow off a slow pace.  It would be different if Deba and Tigist had worked themselves into a 3-min lead on record pace, but this is now a half-marathon shootout with a big handicap.


The men remain locked together, despite some small surges.  Maiyo held a five-second lead for a while, but the big names covered the move and the pace is not yet electric – still outside 3:00/km and so it’s solid, nothing more.

In the women’s race, the lead is now 2:40, as the two Ethiopians have stretched their advantage.  Again, that’s not their exceptional pace as much as it is the slow pace of the pack – the last 5km were covered in 16:59, which still only projects a 2:25:29.  However, a 3 min advantage over the second half (which is what it seems will happen) is difficult to pull back.  The Ethiopians, off this pace, probably have reasonable claims on a 72 min second half, and that means the chasers will need a 69-min second half, through the hills of Central Park.  That makes for an intriguing second half, so the urgency will have to come from the chase soon.


The men’s race is still all together, as you’d expect at 2:10 pace.  The odd move comes from the front, but they’re really just “feelers”, nothing decisive.  That’s normal for a windy day – it makes little sense to leave the pack and expose yourself to the headwind.  All the protagonists are there, and it’s building nicely to the final 10km.

The leading women have sped up slightly, but that’s typical in New York – 17:11 for the last 5km, up from 17:33 for the first 5km.  The gap to the chasing group is still pretty large – Jeptoo went through 10km in 36:55, so she is over 2 min down, running a very sedate 2:35 pace.  But still, that gap is there by the “permission” of the chase group, not the effort of the leaders, because they’re all running slowly at this stage.


The men’s pace, like the women’s, is slow.  15:42 through 5km projects 2:12:30.  The difference is that the pack is large, no splits yet.  Mutai is at the front, the pace has certainly ramped up at 5km, and that should be reflected in the 10km split in a few minutes.

The women’s race has started slowly – the bridge, aside from being a ‘hill’, is also exposed and so when it is windy, it makes the start of the NYC marathon slow.  This is particularly slow.  Projecting 2:28, and consider that two women hare well clear of the field.  Those two women are Tufa and Deba. Deba was second in 2011, so not a “TV-runner”, but the pace is so slow that the field will be comfortable knowing they can pick the pace up significantly later.  And they will.

Priscah Jeptoo, incidentally, through 5km in 19:05, which projects a 2:41. Crazy slow.


The weather forecast isn’t great for fast times.  The wind is pretty strong, from the north, and the race runs into it for almost three quarters of its distance.  It’s the exact opposite of the Boston 2011 situation, where Geoffrey Mutai and Moses Mosop gave the 2:03 barrier a scare, running 2:03:02 and 2:03:06.  Today we’re likely to see what the wind can do in the other direction, and so expect relatively slow times.  Geoffrey Mutai’s 2011 course record of 2:05:06 won’t fall today.  It might not have fallen even on a perfect day, so good was that performance in 2011, when Mutai was the marathon world’s number 1.  In the last few weeks, we’ve seen two of his countrymen win in Berlin (Kipsang, the WR) and Chicago (Kimetto – Mutai’s training partner in perhaps an even better performance), so Mutai enters New York the favorite.


Both the men’s and women’s fields are super strong and deep, with multiple Marathon major champions and World and Olympic medalists to watch.  On the men’s side, defending champion and course record holder Geoffrey Mutai heads a line-up that includes London Champion Tsegaye Kebede, World and Olympic champion Stephen Kiprotich, 2:05 guy Stanley Biwott, and Martin Lel, a multiple champion but whose recent form is well, a mystery, since he’s injured so often.  On medium-term history, Mutai is probably the guy to back, though his most recent races haven’t lived up to his incredible 2011.

Kebede is a safe bet for a podium, because he seems to rarely do worse than this, although the fact that he raced the marathon in Moscow in August may count against him.  Similarly, Stephen Kiprotich, who won that IAAF World Championships in Moscow, races here, but may find it just a month or two too soon – we saw with the London Olympic Games in 2012 that the very best men battle to turn around two races within three months.  Stanley Biwott is a real danger – on paper, nothing special about him, though he has a quick PB of low-2:05.  However, in London, he was very aggressive, and paid for it, but it’s a matter of time before that aggression pays off, so don’t be surprised if this is his breakthrough.  And finally, a special mention for Lel, whose finishing ability made him a personal favourite of mine during his peak years.  They may have passed, but time will tell.

On the women’s side, two world class Kenyans in Edna Kiplagat and Priscah Jeptoo take on two Ethiopians in Firehiwhot Dado and Bezunesh Deba.  The Kenyans are the class of the field with 2:19:50 and 2:20:14 PBs respectively.  But the Ethiopians have been successful in New York more recently, finishing first and second in 2011.  Jeptoo produced a sensational half marathon in September, beating Defar and Dibaba, and won London earlier this year, and so she is the favorite, but unlike many women’s marathons this year, this is a race that may well produce a race over the final 10km, rather than a procession.

New York is always a tough race to call – the hills in Central Park change the dynamic of the race, and so it has thrown up some surprises recently.  It’s unlikely the winner will come from anyone not in the top four in either race, but actually calling it is a difficult one.  The safe bets are Mutai and Jeptoo.


This post is part of the thread: Marathon Analysis – an ongoing story on this site. View the thread timeline for more context on this post.

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