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New York City Marathon: Tamirat Tola wins in record time; Hellen Obiri’s historic double

2024 Paris Olympics: Hometown Hopefuls
Follow 52 Olympic hopefuls as they work to achieve their dreams in the 2024 Paris Olympics in NBC's Hometown Hopefuls series.

Ethiopian Tamirat Tola won the New York City Marathon in the fastest time in race history, while Kenyan Hellen Obiri took the women’s title for a historic Boston-New York City double.

Tola clocked 2 hours, 4 minutes, 58 seconds, taking eight seconds off Kenyan Geoffrey Mutai’s course record from 2011. He prevailed by 1:59 over 2021 champion Albert Korir of Kenya, the largest men’s margin of victory since 2000.

Tola, 32, won the 2022 World Championships, plus the 2016 Olympic 10,000m bronze medal. He dropped out during the 2023 World Championships marathon on Aug. 27 with a stomach issue, then was a late add to the New York City field three weeks ago.

In Sunday’s race, he gapped countryman Jemal Yimer in the 20th mile and ran the final six miles alone.


Tola consolidated his status as Ethiopia’s best marathoner. Kenyans still occupy the top spots in the world, led by the two fastest men in history (Kelvin Kiptum and Eliud Kipchoge), though none of their best were in the New York City field.

Obiri, 33. won Sunday’s women’s race by six seconds in 2:27:23, pulling away from Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey in the last 400 meters in Central Park.

Obiri, who earned the last two Olympic 5000m silver medals, became the first woman to win the Boston and New York City titles in the same year since Norwegian Ingrid Kristiansen in 1989.

Gidey was followed by 2022 champion Sharon Lokedi and former world record holder Brigid Kosgei, both of Kenya.

Kenya has yet to announce its three-woman team for the 2024 Olympics, but it must omit at least one of Obiri, Lokedi, Kosgei and Tokyo Olympic marathon champ Peres Jepchirchir.

Jepchirchir, who won the Olympic, New York City and Boston titles in an eight-month span in 2021 and 2022, withdrew from New York City on Saturday with a leg injury.

Kellyn Taylor was the top American placer in either elite race in eighth.

Swiss Catherine Debrunner and Marcel Hug won the women’s and men’s wheelchair races. Debrunner shattered the course record by 3:11 in clocking 1:39:32.

The races produced the first four athletes to qualify for the 2024 U.S. Paralympic team: Susannah Scaroni (third place) and Tatyana McFadden (sixth) and Daniel Romanchuk (second) and Aaron Pike (fourth).

The next major marathon is the U.S. Olympic Trials on Feb. 3 in Orlando, where the top three men and top three women are likely to make the team for Paris.