University of Kansas graduate Sharon Lokedi captured the 2022 TCS New York City Marathon this past Sunday in her marathon debut Credit: Bill Moore photo

On a warm, humid Sunday morning, among a field of talented and experienced veterans, in one of the most competitive distance races in the world, newcomer to the 26.2 mile club Sharon Chesang Lokedi of Kenya won the TCS NYC Marathon in her debut at the distance.
Although well known in American distance running, Lokedi, 28, was not the favorite to take the title. In fact, she wasn’t even mentioned in most circles as a contender in a competition headlined by reigning 2022 World Athletics Championships gold medalist Gotytom Gebreslase of Ethiopia, and that included Kenyan-Isreali runner Chemtai Salpeter, the bronze winner  at the World Athletics Championships held last July in Eugene, Oregon.
Also vying for the top placing was two-time world champion and 2010 NYC Marathon winner Edna Kiplagat of Kenya and former U.S. marathon record holder Keira D’Amato. But the rookie Lokedi, who was a standout scholar-athlete at the University of Kansas where she studied nursing and business while becoming a 10-time All-American and 12-time Big 12 champion, etched her name among the sport’s greats.
“I wanted to be in the race,” Lokedi said at Tavern on the Green in Central Park after finishing in 2:23:23, edging out Salpeter, who was second in 2:23:30. Gebreslase was third clocking 2:23:39.
“I know I was strong. I had really good training. I wanted to put myself in it and race and see where I end up. Halfway through I felt really good. I had really good help from Salpeter. I didn’t expect to win. I’m really excited for today.”
Part of the lead pack coming up First Avenue after exiting the Ed Koch Bridge, Lokedi remained patient, trusting her training and instincts. Bunched with Gebreslase and Salpeter as they approached Columbus Circle and then entered the park, Lokedi surged away from the two veterans in the final mile and received loud cheers from the crowd in the closing stages as she crossed the tape.
Lokedi is just the eighth athlete in history, male or female, to win in New York in their marathon debut. She was familiar with the city’s landscape. Lokedi was second at the Mastercard New York Mini held in Central Park last June and was fourth at the United Airlines NYC Half in March. But her victory on Sunday was Lokedi’s first in a New York Road Runners event.
When asked whether she planned on running more marathons in the near future, Lokedi replied, “To be honest, I’m just going to enjoy this and go back to Arizona and sit down with my coach and lay out the plan for the next. I don’t know. It was great today, so maybe.”
The top U.S. finisher was Aliaphine Tuliamuk, who was seventh with a personal best of 2:26:18. Emma Bates (8th, 2:26:53) and Nell Rojas (10th, 2:28:32) also had strong showings. 

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