2022 New York City Marathon Preview: Athletes, Storylines To Watch
Your guide to the pro races at the 2022 New York City Marathon on Sunday, Nov. 6
Start spreading the news… The final Abbott World Marathon Major of 2022 is here at last: This Sunday marks the 51st edition of the TCS New York City Marathon. 50,000+ runners will flood the five boroughs of New York to run from the Verrazzano Bridge to Central Park as fast as they possibly can, and the races up front for the championship are shaping up to be a doozy.
On the women’s side, the reigning World Champion looks to round out her 2022 season with another big victory, but to do so she’ll have to take down a field that includes former American record holder Keira D’Amato, ageless wonder Edna Kiplagat, and 6-time global medalist Hellen Obiri. 2021 men’s champion Albert Korir returns to defend his title if he can hold off 2022 Boston champion Evans Chebet, Olympic bronze medalist Galen Rupp, and three other sub-2:05 performers.
Our very own Chris Chavez will be in the lead vehicle for the men’s race broadcast, and of course, keep an eye out for our very own Kyle Merber making his marathon debut (Bib #488!). If you’re in town for the race, we also encourage you to take a look at the Point2 race-weekend events hosted by our friends at On Running. Chris will be at the Release Recovery Foundation shakeout run on Saturday morning if anyone would like to join in Central Park at 9:30 a.m.
The race kicks off at 8:30 a.m. EST (don’t forget about Daylight Saving Time ending Saturday night!), with live coverage on ABC7NY and ESPN beginning at 7 a.m. You can also get an uninterrupted stream on the NYC Marathon app as well as live tracking. We also included a quick preview of the USATF 5km championships held the day before, 8:30 a.m. Saturday, November 5. You can find live results of that race here.
Can Gotytom Gebreslase Follow World Gold With NYC Crown?
New York’s placement at the end of the WMM calendar works out well for those hoping to double back from this year’s World Championships in July, and after Eugene silver medalist Judith Korir finished fourth in this year’s London Marathon, we shouldn’t be surprised to see the woman who beat her, Ethiopian Gotytom Gebreslase, putting on a similarly strong performance.
After winning the 2021 Berlin Marathon and finishing third at the 2022 Tokyo Marathon, Gebreslase has shown she can perform well on flat, fast courses, but New York is a tricky, technical course with a hilly second half so this may be a new challenge for her. Lonah Salpeter, the Israeli bronze medalist in Eugene, is in the same boat, having won Tokyo in 2020 in 2:17:45, the fastest personal best in the field, but having limited results on hillier courses. If you like betting on experience, the 2010 New York champion Edna Kiplagat is just as competitive at 42 years old as she was 12 years ago, running 2:21:40 for 4th in this year’s Boston Marathon, an astonishing feat. She also crossed the finish line second in Boston last fall but should be considered the rightful winner, as Diana Kipyokei was disqualified after a positive drug test.
One sleeper pick to keep an eye on is Senbere Teferi, the 27-year-old Ethiopian who’s yet to quite put it together at the marathon distance, with “only” a 2:24:11 personal best, but who is an absolute legend on the roads at 5km and 10km. She clearly likes New York, too, as she was this year’s NYC Half winner in March.
How Fast Does Hellen Obiri Debut?
One woman who very well may be competing for the win in New York has never run a marathon before, but if anyone is poised to absolutely knock a debut out of the park, it’s Hellen Obiri.
The 2017 and 2019 world champion at 5000 meters has since moved up in distance, finishing second in the 10,000m at this year’s world championships and running a series of impressive half marathons with her personal best of 64:22 placing her fourth on the all-time list. If the 2022 Amsterdam Marathon taught us anything, it’s that impressive track credentials can and do translate to fast marathon debuts, as two women Obiri used to race all the time, Almaz Ayana and Genzebe Dibaba, ran their first marathons in 2:17:19 and 2:18:05, respectively. Obiri has run faster than either of her former rivals over the half, which suggests that, if anything, her ceiling may be even higher.
Anything can happen over a 26-mile race, but Obiri will likely be among the leaders, particularly if the race stays packed up until the final miles. If she’s within striking distance in Central Park, her devastating footspeed may quickly become a factor over the final miles.
You can watch and listen to our Inside OAC conversation with her coach Dathan Ritzenheim for more insight into Obiri’s preparation for NYC.
Who Wins The Latest Keira D’Amato-Emma Bates Showdown?
Every year, New York delivers a stacked field of American talent, and in 2021, U.S. runners put 5 in the top 10 finishers on the women’s side led by Olympic bronze medalist Molly Seidel in 4th. The top American returner from last fall is Annie Frisbie, who finished 7th, and many other experienced veterans, including Des Linden, Steph Bruce, and Aliphine Tuliamuk, will toe the line in pursuit of another top-10 finish.
Topping the stacked field, however, is 2:19:12 performer Keira D’Amato and 2021 Chicago runner-up Emma Bates. In four matchups, Bates has the head-to-head advantage at 3-1, and D’Amato is coming off a very quick turnaround after finishing 6th in Berlin just six weeks ago. It’s entirely possible that New York will serve more as a victory lap of sorts for Keira, who’ll be running her fourth marathon of 2022 to cap off a season that began with an American record in Houston in January. Bates is coming off a 7th-place finish in Eugene, and her marathon career thus far has been the model of consistency: she’s run 5 marathons, with the lowest finish of 7th, and excluding the brutal course of the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials, her next-slowest time is 2:25:40. While Bates has never run New York before, she has to be considered the betting favorite for top American.
Others to keep an eye on in the top-10 conversation include Lindsay Flanagan (2:24:35 PB), Dakotah Lindwurm (2:25:02 PB), and Nell Rojas (2:25:57 PB - catch up with her training in this Lap Count interview). Accomplished road warrior Emily Durgin makes her much-anticipated marathon debut as well after running 67:54, the No. 6 all-time half by an American in January of this year.
Can Albert Korir Defend His Title?
In 2019, Albert Korir’s runner-up finish was a bit of a surprise and his victory in 2021 proved it wasn’t a fluke. Last year, made his big move at mile 20 on the Willis Avenue Bridge and managed to drop half marathon world record holder Kibiwott Kandie. In the end, Korir took the victory in 2:08:22. It’s easy to overlook him while scouring the start list because his personal best is still just 2:08:03 from the 2019 Ottowa Marathon, buried among the entries because of pure depth in this race that features four men who have run under 2:05. In an unpaced, tough environment, however, New York’s hills have played to his favor.
Korir is looking to become the first man to win back-to-back titles since Geoffrey Mutai in 2011 and 2013 (2012 was canceled due to Hurricane Sandy).
Morocco’s Mohamed El Aaraby, who finished second in last year’s race, is a contender to put a stop to that. 2022 has been a particularly strong year for him. He finished 7th at the Paris Marathon in the spring with a personal best of 2:06:55. Three weeks later, he recycled that fitness for a 59:54 half marathon personal best, which puts him at No. 3 on the Moroccan all-time list. He earned a bronze medal in 2:10:19 at the World Military Championships in Lima, Peru on May 8 and then took 21st at the World Championships in 2:10:33. If he’s fit, he’s in contention for another podium showing.
Three other heavy hitters to toss into the conversation are Shura Kitata (2020 London Marathon Champion and the fastest Ethiopian entrant on paper), Daniel Do Nascimiento (Brazilian record holder with a 2:04:51 PB), and Abdi Nageeye (Tokyo Olympic silver medalist and Rotterdam Marathon champion in a 2:04:56 personal best).
Can Evans Chebet Get The Boston-New York Double?
Kenya’s Evans Chebet claimed his first World Marathon Majors victory in April’s Boston Marathon and enters the New York City Marathon with the fastest personal best thanks to the 2:03:00 that he ran to win the 2020 Valencia Marathon. He’s also looking to add the third victory for coach Claudio Berardelli’s training group: Amos Kipruto won the London Marathon and Benson Kipruto won the Chicago Marathon. Chebet proved that a hilly race with no pacers worked in his favor in Boston so he has to be considered a potential favorite and the type of guy who can handle whatever kind of race tactics get thrown his way on a course like this.
Remember Suguru Osako?
Suguru Osako retired following a 6th-place finish at the Tokyo Olympics. In the lead-up to the race, he was heralded as one of Japan’s best shots at earning a medal on home soil but finished 41 seconds back of the podium. That retirement only lasted a few months before Osako announced his return in February and returned to racing with a 61:05 half marathon PB at the Great North Run in September. He looked strong in his pacesetting duties at the Chicago Marathon and could be a contender for the win. His best showing at a World Major was a 3rd-place finish at the 2018 Chicago Marathon.
To date, no Japanese man has ever won the New York City Marathon. The fastest performance in history was a 6th-place finish by Masato Imai in 2013 in 2:10:45. The highest-place finish by a Japanese man was 4th place in 2:11:49 by Hiroyuki Yamamoto in 2016. Lots of Japanese media has been accredited for the race and thousands will be tuning in from Japan for Osako’s comeback.
Who will be the top American?
Galen Rupp has sat atop U.S. men’s marathoning for much of the past six years. Since moving to the marathon in 2016, he’s run five of the top 10 fastest marathon performances by an American man - including the top three times. How much longer can he keep that up? Rupp battled some back issues earlier in the spring and at the World Championships, where he finished 19th in 2:09:36 despite stopping multiple times to stretch out the pain. A healthy Rupp is always dangerous, but he’ll have some good company among the Americans in this one.
Leonard Korir has the next-fastest personal best with a 2:07:56 from his debut at the 2019 Amsterdam Marathon. However, he hasn’t run a marathon since a heartbreaking 4th-place finish at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, where he missed the team for Tokyo by just three seconds. He’s shown recent fitness, however, tuning up for this race with a pair of runner-up finishes at the USATF 10K Championships and 20K Championships in September.
Shadrack Kipchirchir is making his marathon debut. He was initially hoping to make this move in 2020 but the pandemic canceled that year’s race and he missed much of 2021 due to a torn calf. He made a full recovery last fall, coming back to win the USATF Cross Country Championships in January and impressed many with a 61:16 half marathon debut and top American showing at the NYC Half in March. He stepped back down to the track to take 5th at the U.S. 10,000m Championships in late May and again just missed out on making the team for Worlds by a second. He told CITIUS MAG back in January that “once I switch my focus and I’m doing the marathon, I’m going to do some damage there.” That time is now.
You can never count out Scott Fauble. We paid him a visit two weeks ago in Boulder and he was in great spirits about his training block under coach Joe Bosshard. The duo’s first marathon together was a hit as he clocked a 2:08:52 personal best and top American finish in April’s Boston Marathon. Since the start of 2020, he is the 3rd-fastest American marathoner. He said he’s got no time goals for this race and just wants to compete. Experience is on Fauble’s side as he’s been here before and knows what to expect since was 7th in 2018 and was the 2nd American across the finish line in 2:12:28, which was a PB at the time. Look how far he’s come.
And welcome back to Marty Hehir, M.D.! This is his World Marathon Majors debut and a bit of a homecoming for him since Washingtonville, New York is his hometown and he went to Syracuse University. He’s up there on the U.S. marathon list after a 2:08:59 showing at The Marathon Project, but that was 23 months ago. He’s raced sparingly since then because he’s been working as an anesthesiologist resident at the University of Virginia and his family added another daughter since that race. The talented doc is a big X factor in this race, but if his marathon resume holds up, he’ll be to watch.
The elite men’s field also includes 2016 Olympian Jared Ward, 2:10 guy Reed Fischer, and 2:11 guys Nathan Martin and Matt Llano.
USATF 5K Championship Mini-Preview
The Abbott Dash to the Finish 5K is an underrated gem of New York Marathon weekend, and its perennial place as the site of the USATF 5km championships means that it always boasts a stacked field and exciting races. Last year, Drew Hunter of Tinman Elite edged out Matthew Centrowitz by inches while Under Armour’s Weini Kelati ran away with a dominant victory.
On the women’s side, Kelati is back to defend her title against track rivals Emily Infeld, Vanessa Fraser, Natosha Rogers, and more. Infeld and Fraser have recently made coaching and training-group changes, so it will be interesting to see how their transitions have been going so far. Jenny Simpson fans will be excited to see her name on the starting line and curious to see her second race in a PUMA kit, although she’s been candid in recent conversations that she’s still coming back into peak shape.
Hunter also returns to New York, but he’ll have an uphill battle to take back-to-back wins as the field includes studs like 8:08 steeplechaser Hillary Bor, 13:06 performer and recent pro Abdihamid Nur, and UA’s Willy Fink. Plus, we’ll get our first peek at 1500m specialist Craig Engels in his first race since announcing his departure from Union Athletics Club. November is a strange time in the schedule for middle-distance runners to be in top shape, but if recent history is any indication, the Abbott 5K does tend to favor milers versus pure-distance runners.
Hope to see you out on the course this weekend! If you can’t make it to New York in person, follow all the action along with us on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok for exclusive CITIUS MAG content and commentary.
🙏 Chris Chavez (@ChrisChavez) and David Melly (@DavidMellyRuns)