It has been 13 years since an American finished first at the TCS New York Marathon. But for Kenyan runners, winning the race has become business as usual. Since 2011, a Kenyan has won eight out of 11 times. (The race was canceled in 2012 due to Hurricane Sandy.) On Sunday, after passing the lead runner, who had collapsed at the 21st mile of the 26.2 mile course, Kenyan Evans Chebet easily won the men’s division of the world’s most prestigious marathon in 2:08:41. 

It was Chebet’s first time competing in the annual race through New York City’s five boroughs, and his second major marathon win this year. He also won the Boston Marathon in April. Chebet, who turned 34 today (Thursday), was followed by Shura Kitata of Ethiopia, who was timed in 2:08:54. Abdi Nageeye of the Netherlands finished third in 2:10:31.

Chebet, Kitata, Nageeye and other runners passed Brazilian Daniel Do Nascimento, who was ahead of the field by two minutes and 12 seconds before collapsing on a Bronx street with five miles remaining and the lead runners heading back into Manhattan. Do Nascimento took a roughly 20-second bathroom break several miles before collapsing at Mile 21, just before crossing the Willis Avenue Bridge into Harlem. He was quickly attended to by medical personnel, but he was done for the day.

It wasn’t determined by the end of the marathon what caused his collapse, but unseasonably warm temperatures and Do Nascimento’s fast pace were likely factors. At a high of 75 degrees by noon, it was a beautiful day for spectators, but a humid day for running, requiring participants to be well hydrated. 

Chebet said he saw Do Nascimento lying on the ground, and that he “felt bad for him, but had to continue to race” as the top runners were in a close battle. “He knew that it was hot and humid,” Chebet noted. After taking the lead, there was never a threat of Chebet losing it on his rush to the finish line, becoming the first runner since Geoffrey Mutai in 2011 to win both the Boston and New York City Marathons in the same year. 

For the fifth time and second year in a row, Paralympian athlete Marcel Hug of Switzerland won the NYC Marathon men’s wheelchair division, finishing in 1:25:26, tying Kurt Fearnley of Australia for most-ever victories in the event. Hug, 36, nicknamed the Silver Bullet, also set a new course record, breaking the previous mark of 1:29:22 set by Fearnley in 2006.

Not affected by the extremely high humidity, the warm weather benefited Hug. “The conditions were great for us,” he said. “My goal was to go as fast as possible and didn’t focus on the time.”

In the women’s wheelchair division, American Susannah Scaroni took gold and established a new course record of her own, breaking the tape in 1:42:43, bettering five-time NYC Marathon winner Tatyana McFadden’s old standard by 21 seconds.

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