Ethiopian Firehiwot Dado won the 42nd ING New York Marathon women’s title in two hours, 23 minutes and 15 seconds to edge compatriot Buzunesh Deba by four seconds.
Dado, a 27-year-old making her New York Marathon debut, wasn’t a favorite coming into the women’s race but she made a stunning comeback for her first major marathon title. It was the second closest finish in women’s NYC Marathon history.
Fellow Ethopian Buzunesh Deba, who lives and trains in the parks and streets of New York, had to settle for second with reigning London Marathon champion Mary Keitany of Kenya in third for the second year in a row in 2:23:39.
Keitany led from the start until the final mile, when Dado took the lead for good after working with Deba to chase down the Kenyan for most of the 26.2-mile journey.
Keitany, who set the world half-marathon record of 1:05:50 earlier this year, was on an early pace to challenge the women’s world record of Britain’s Paula Radcliffe, 2:17:42 from 2005 in London, and the course record of 2:22.31 set by Kenya’s Margaret Okayo in 2003.
But Keitany chose a difficult path by going out hard and running most the race alone. At the halfway point, she had a lead of 2:12. Through 15 miles, she led a pack of four women however between miles 23 and 24, Keitany lost some of her advantage, holding on by 30 seconds with a little more than two miles to go.
Once Dado took the lead, she never relented. And for Keitany, the race strategy proved too much to handle.
Portugal’s Ana Dulce Felix was fourth in 2:25:40 with New Zealand’s Kim Smith fifth in 2:25:46 and Kilel, the reigning Boston Marathon champion, another 11 seconds adrift in sixth.
Last year’s New York women’s winner, Kenya’s Edna Kiplagat, withdrew last month with a sore left knee suffered in an fall during her victory in August at the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea.
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