New York sought a comeback story for its 50th marathon, and Albert Korir delivered.
And for a city whose sports fans don’t accept second best, Peres Jepchirchir came through with a memorable first.
Korir and Jepchirchir made it a Kenyan sweep at Sunday’s New York City Marathon, with Korir winning the men’s race two years after finishing second and Jepchirchir becoming the only woman to take a marathon major in the fall after earning an Olympic gold medal.
The second oldest of the world’s marathon majors returned after canceling in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. In a city where over 34,000 have died of COVID-19, organizers hoped for an uplifting celebration akin to the marathon staged two months after the 9/11 attacks.
“It was fantastic,” Korir said.
On streets emptied 21 months ago except for ambulances rushing to aid a city paralyzed by the coronavirus — and later filled with anguish and frustration in the days after George Floyd’s murder — there was simply joy Sunday as around 30,000 runners made their way through the city’s five boroughs.