Tomorrow, 50,000 runners will take to the streets for the annual TCS New York City Marathon. And rain or shine, it promises to be one of the event’s best years, with a deep elite field including an all-star American cast on the women’s side. Of course, the men’s division isn’t one to skip over either, especially with the handful of international runners boasting sub-2:10 marathon times. Over the years, many intense, amazing and heart-pounding moments have happened here and we’ve rounded-up some of the best of the last 10 years:
The women’s race was the highlight of the 2017 marathon when American runner Shalane Flanagan won with a time of 2:26.53. This win marked the first time an American women had won in the women’s open division since runner Miki Gorman in 1977, 40 years earlier. Flanagan won by pulling ahead of Kenyan runner Mary Keitany with about three miles left of the race, winning by a little over a minute. Flanagan had only run the New York City Marathon one other time in 2010, where she came in second. On the men’s side of the race, Kenyan runner Geoffrey Kamworor won with a time of 2:10.53.
In 2016, 51,338 runners completed the marathon, a record for the event. This number included a fair amount of celebrities–and even some royalty–who took part in 26.2-mile feat. Tony Award winner Cynthia Erivo completed the marathon in 3:57.07 while Top Chef: All-Stars winner Richard Blais ran for the Save the Children USA charity and finished with a time of 4:47.16. Netherland royalty Pieter-Christiaan van Oranje-Nassau, the Crown Prince of the Netherlands, completed the marathon as well. On the elite side, Ghirmay Ghebreslassie of Eritrean won the men’s division with a time of 2:07.51, while Mary Keitany of Kenya won in the women’s division with a time of 2:24.26.
The 2015 marathon once again saw Kenya in the spotlight after the country’s across-the-board wins a year earlier. Kenyan Stanley Biwott won in the men’s division with a time of 2:10.34, completing his first major win. In the women’s division, Mary Keitany of Kenya won with a time of 2:24.25, accomplishing her second straight win in New York. San Diego native and 2009 champion Meb Keflezighi also broke the course and American record for masters runners with a time of 2:13.32. He was also the top American finisher and American Laura Thweatt finished seventh as the top American woman in 2:28.23 during her marathon debut. Winning her third consecutive NYC marathon (fourth in total), female wheelchair athlete Tatyana McFadden shattered the event record with a time of 1:43:04.
This year’s event made headlines for its record number of finishers, totaling 50,564 runners up from 2013’s record-breaking numbers. Kenyan athletes stood out in 2014, with Wilson Kipsang winning in the men’s division with a time of 2:10.59 and Mary Keitany winning in the women’s division with a time of 2:25.07. To wrap up such an eventful marathon, the event also saw its one millionth runner cross the finish line. New York-based Katherine Slingluff came in with a time of 4:43.46.
The 2013 race saw the completion of a Grand Slam when American Tatyana McFadden won the women’s wheelchair division, having claimed victories in Boston, London and Chicago earlier in the year. No other athletes have accomplished this same feat; McFadden is the first to do so in four major marathons in a single year. She finished this year’s race in 1:59.13. After her NYC win, McFadden returned to school at the University of Illinois. In the men’s open division, 2011 winner Geoffrey Mutai (KEN) broke the tape in 2:08.24 and Priscah Jeptoo (KEN) out ran the elite women in 2:25.07. This was also the last year that ING was the marathon’s title sponsor.
Just 40 hours before the race was set to begin, the event was called off. New York Road Runners and city officials announced that the race would not go on in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The city and the runners were divisive about holding the marathon just four days after the hurricane hit. Some felt it would help support the city, while others noted that it was detracting from the efforts to heal the city. In the end, the race was canceled because of the amount of controversy it was drumming up. All runners were invited to participate in the following year’s marathon.
This year, winner Geoffrey Mutai shattered the marathon’s course record set a decade earlier by Ethiopian Tesfaye Jifar in 2:07.43 and came in more two-and-a-half seconds ahead of Jifar’s time in 2:05.06. Just seven months earlier, Mutai broke a world record at the Boston Marathon as well, completing it in 2:03.02. However, his record was not upheld since world records in the marathon are only officially possible on loop courses. This time, however, Mutai got his record. In the women’s division, Kenyan Caroline Kilel held off American Desiree Davila to break the tape only two seconds ahead of Davila. Although not coming out with a podium finish, American Kara Goucher finished fifth, just seven months after having a baby.
The morning of the 2010 New York City Marathon was cold. Only three race days had been colder in the history of the event. However, for Chilean Edison Pena, any weather was better than no weather. Just weeks before race day, Pena had still been trapped 2,300 feet underground in a mine with 32 other men. He trained alone through darkness and heat in the 69 days he spent underground. This training took him through the marathon, leading him to overcome knee pain to finish with ice bags tied around his legs in 5:40.51. This was almost 20 minutes faster than his goal of six hours. On marathon day, he also ha a little help from his friends—runners and spectators alike cheered him on as he traversed the course, draping him in a Chilean flag and playing Elvis music as he crossed the finish line.
The U.S. stood triumphant in the 2009 NYC marathon with Meb Keflezighi becoming the first American man to win the race since 1982. He won with a time of 2:09.15, beating four-time Boston Marathon winner Robert Cheruiyot of Kenya. This victory represented more than just a win for the country; it was also a triumph of the American dream. Keflezighi emigrated from war-torn Eritrea, where he lived in a home with 11 siblings in a village with no electricity. Completing the journey to America, he represented the country along with the five other Americans who finished in the top 10, the highest number since 1979.
Taking a win for Great Britain, female open race winner Paula Radcliffe finished in 2:23.56 (her third win in New York), while Marilson Gomes Dos Santos of Brazil took the top spot in 2:08.43. On the American front, Kara Goucher set a U.S. debut record of 2:25.53, surpassing Deena Kastor’s 2001 course record and also became the third-fastest American woman ever behind Kastor and Joan Benoit Samuelson (2:21.21). The 2008 marathon also saw one of the largest groups of runners in the event’s history, with 37,899 runners crossing the finish line. However, the race ended on a sad note, with two of the race finishers passing away shortly after the marathon ended. Brazilian Carlos Jose Gomes fell unconscious shortly after he finished in 4:12.15, and was taken to the hospital, where he died later that evening from a pre-existing heart condition. American runner Joseph Marotta, also passed away of a suspected heart attack hours after he finished his fourth New York City Marathon in 9:16.46.