NEW YORK — Geoffrey Mutai, of Kenya, led an assault on the New York City Marathon record book by winning the men’s race in course record time on Sunday, while Firehiwot Dado, of Ethiopia, produced an amazing comeback to claim the women’s title.
Mutai burst from the leading pack at the 20-mile mark to win in two hours, five minutes and six seconds, more than two and a half minutes faster than the previous record of 2:07:43 set in 2001 by Ethiopian Tesfaye Jifar.
Finishing second behind the Boston Marathon winner was Emmanuel Mutai, no relation to his fellow Kenyan, who completed the 26.2-mile test in 2:06:28 and clinched a $500,000 bonus for winning the world marathon majors championship.
Third place went to Olympic bronze medalist Tsegaye Kebede, of Ethiopia, who was also faster than the old New York record in 2:07:14, 46 seconds ahead of 2010 winner Gebre Gebremariam.
The women’s race appeared headed for a record-setting time with London Marathon winner Mary Keitany, of Kenya, running well under world-best pace in firing out to a massive two-minute, 23-second lead just past the halfway mark.
But Dado and fellow Ethiopian Buzunesh Deba overtook the fading front-runner in the final mile of a run that drew more than 47,000 participants.
Dado, a three-time Rome Marathon winner, claimed the New York crown in 2:23:15, four seconds ahead of Deba, who lives and trains in New York. Keitany was third in 2:23:39.
“At the end I was feeling a bit fatigued in my leg and this was why my colleagues got me,” the Kenyan said.
The exhilarating men’s times came despite a modest pace in the first half of the race and continued a trend in the marathon following course record times in Boston, London and a world-best time of 2:03:38 set in September by Patrick Makau of Kenya.
“Everything now will be changed,” said Geoffrey Mutai, about moving marathon records ever lower.
Keitany, who finished third last year in her marathon debut in New York, seized the lead from the start and built a seemingly insurmountable advantage by Mile 15.
But the 29-year-old began to slow, and Dado and Deba kept whittling down the margin, moving within one minute of Keitany as they entered Central Park for the final stage.
When Keitany noticed her pursuers closing in, she put on a desperate spurt and held them off until the trio reached the southern tip of Central Park.
Dado surged by and later so did Deba, winner of the Los Angeles and San Diego marathons, on the last straight in the park.
“Once we saw her we said let’s catch her,” said Dado.