Nairobi — Three-time World Half Marathon champion Geoffrey Kamworor was dethroned his New York City Marathon title after finishing third in a race that was won by Ethiopian Lelisa Desisa on Sunday.
Kamworor and Desisa were fighting for the lead at mile 25, but Desisa kicked through to cross the finish line in 2:05:59, two seconds ahead of compatriot Shaura Kitata who came second while Kamworor faded to third in 2:06:26.
It was a historic day in perfect running conditions for 50,000 entrants in the 26.2-mile showdown over the streets of New York.
Two-time Boston Marathon champion Desisa, second in New York in 2014 and third in 2015 and 2017, finally claimed the crown and could not hid his joy.
“I (was) thinking this year to be a champion. I’m very thirsty to be the champion. I’ve been second. I’ve been third. This year I decided to be champion because I had the training, everything in my power I controlled. Today is my day. I’m very, very happy,” Desisa said after the race.
Desisa surged late to grab the lead then withstood a finishing kick from Kitata to win the 26.2-mile showdown over the streets of New York.
Kitata, six years younger than Desisa at age 22, settled for a second major marathon runner-up finish this year and taking second in London.
Desisa was 54 seconds off the New York men’s record set in 2011 by Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya in 2011.