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A year after Hellen Obiri made her marathon debut in New York City and finished sixth, she earned her redemption with a sprint finish over Letesenbet Gidey in the final mile to win the 2023 TCS New York City Marathon. Obiri is the first woman in 34 years to win the Boston Marathon and the New York City Marathon in the same year.

Obiri came into Central Park sprinting away from the chasing Gidey with less than a mile to go, winning by a close margin of five seconds over the women’s 10,000m world record holder.

With a star-studded women’s field, all eyes were on the long-standing course record of 2:22:31 before the race began. The women made it clear that they were not out to get the record in the first 10K–ruling out the chance of a fast time with a slower-than-usual pace.

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The women’s race did not really begin in earnest until the final eight kilometres, when Kenya’s Viola Cheptoo pushed a five-minute mile pace at the front, Obiri, Gidey and 2022 champion Sharon Lokedi in pursuit. Then the three began to surge. “I kept telling myself to be patient,” Obiri said in a post-race interview with Canadian Running. “I know my strengths are in the final few miles, and I made sure to give those all I had.”

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Gidey finished five seconds behind Obiri for her second career marathon and first major. 2022 NYC champion Lokedi rounded out the podium, finishing 10 seconds behind Obiri and four seconds after Gidey for third.

Obiri’s time of 2:27:23 was the slowest winning mark since Edna Kiplagat ran 2:28:20 in 2010. “I came here to win,” says Obiri. “Last year, I made mistakes, and this year I felt I learned from them.”

The last woman to win Boston and New York in the same year was Norway’s Ingrid Kristiansen in 1989. Obiri hopes her historic win will earn her a spot on the Kenyan marathon team for the 2024 Paris Olympics. There is no doubt that if she gains selection from Athletics Kenya she will be one of the favourites to win gold.

2023 TCs New York City Marathon
Women’s top 10 finishers
1. Hellen Obiri (KEN) — 2:27:23
2. Letesenbet Gidey (ETH) — 2:27:29
3. Sharon Lokedi (KEN) — 2:27:33
4. Brigid Kosgei (KEN) — 2:27:45
5. Mary Ngugi (KEN) — 2:27:53
6. Viola Cheptoo (KEN) — 2:28:11
7. Edna Kiplagat (KEN) — 2:29:40
8. Kellyn Taylor (USA) — 2:29:48
9. Molly Huddle (USA) — 2:32:02
10. Fantu Zewude Jifar (ETH) — 2:34:10

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