November 6, 2011
Race after race this year, the footsteps kept getting faster as runners approached the limits of marathon performance. Course records had fallen in frenzied fashion at the other major marathons — Boston, London, Chicago and Berlin, where the world record was set.
Would New York, the hilliest of the majors, follow that blistering path for a record on its own course?
If so, Geoffrey Mutai was the man to do it, and he did not disappoint on a gloriously crisp New York day.
Not quite seven months after shattering the Boston Marathon record in a world-best time of 2 hours 3 minutes 2 seconds — a time that was ultimately not sanctioned as a world record primarily because Boston is a point-to-point course — Mutai crushed the New York record, which had stood for a decade.
Mutai, a 30-year-old Kenyan, dashed past the finish line in 2:05:06, beating the 2:07:43 course record set by Tesfaye Jifar of Ethiopia in 2001. But he was not the only one who bettered the old record: Emmanuel Mutai of Kenya finished second in 2:06:28 and Tsefaye third in 2:07:13. All three men will receive bonuses of $70,000 for going under the previous record.
Meb Keflezighi of the United States, who won here in 2009, finished in sixth with a personal-best 2:09:13.
A world best has not been seen on this course in three decades, when the American Alberto Salazar ran 2:08:13 in 1981. That era is long gone, replaced by a brave, blistering new crop of runners who are gunning, someday, to break two hours.
On this first Sunday in November along with a record starting field of 47,107, Geoffrey Mutai made this a race to remember.
With a bold move in the Bronx to separate himself from a tight pack of seven men, Mutai broke open the race before charging back into Manhattan. He ran the final six miles alone, his victory never in doubt.
Mutai said the New York course was tough.
“I try at the last minute to push it a little more,” he said. “We all worked together – and then it was time to push it. For me, I was trying to run my own race.”
For Mutai, the exhilaration and ultimate deflation of his Boston performance served as motivation while training in the remote hills of Ethiopia’s Central Rift Valley. He trains without a coach, with a group of about 50 runners. This way, he can tell himself just what to do.
Mutai acknowledged that he was disappointed by not being able to call his 2:03:02 a world record. It was not sanctioned as a record course because of the elevation loss and because its start and finish were separated by more than 50 percent of the race distance.
Did he consider himself a world-record holder? “I am still fighting to be,” he said.
Emmanuel Mutai, who won the London Marathon in the spring with a course record, collected a $500,000 consolation by finishing second here. That check honored Mutai, who is not related to Geoffrey Mutai, for winning the World Marathon Majors series.
Geoffrey Mutai was born on October 7th, 1981 according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geoffrey_Mutai
October 7th, 1981
10 + 7 +2+0+1+1 = 21 = his personal year (from October 7th, 2011 to October 6th, 2012) = On the world stage. For all the world to see.
21 year + 10 (October) = 31 = his personal month (from October 7th, 2011 to November 6th, 2011) = Contest. Competition. Rising to the challenge. Personal best.
31 month + 6 (6th of the month on Sunday November 6th, 2011) = 37 = his personal day = Deeply emotional. Doing it for his country.
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