For the first time in 27 years, an American man has won the NYC Marathon. Meb Keflezighi — who achieved Olympic bronze in Athens — crossed the line at 2:09:15. The 5-foot-5½, 122-pound Eritrean immigrant set a personal best in his 13th NYC Marathon, crossing the line about 40 seconds ahead of second-place finisher.
Keflezighi finished second in New York in 2004 and third in 2005, but after struggling with a hip injury and failing to qualify for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, many thought the 34-year-old was past his prime. “Whether it's on (Internet) chats or word on the street, I heard, ‘He's over the hill.’ Things like that," he said. “I knew I had this God-given talent that hadn't been tapped into yet."
He finished strong, pulling ahead of Kenyan Robert Cheruiyot in the last miles. As he approached the finish line in Central Park, Keflezighi repeatedly pointed at his shirt, which read "U.S.A." He told the Times, "U.S.A. gave me all the opportunity in the world, education, sports, lifestyle. This is so special to me."
In the women's race, 37-year-old Derartu Tulu became the first-ever Ethiopian woman to win. In her second ever 26.2-mile victory, Tulu crossed the line at 2:28:52. Three-time winner Paula Radcliffe — who said she might be able to break the course's 2:22:31 women's record — finished fourth in 2:29:27.