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New York Marathon 2018: Elite men’s preview

The event features a highly anticipated marathon debut, multiple Olympians, the defending champion and world major marathon winners

2017 New York City Marathon
New York City Marathon Canadians
Photo: courtesy of NYRR.

The TCS New York City Marathon is happening on Sunday. The men’s race gets underway at 9:50 a.m. EDT and it’s going to be one to watch. The event features a highly anticipated marathon debut, multiple Olympians, the defending champion and world major marathon winners.

RELATED: New York Marathon 2018: Elite women’s preview

Men to watch:

Bernard Lagat, USA, 43

Lagat, at age 43, will run his marathon debut. Lagat has competed in five Olympics, and is an 11-time world championship medallist. He’s one of the most decorated runners in history and has had an extremely lengthy and impressive career. Lagat became an American citizen in 2004 after competing for Kenya at his first two Olympics. He went on to represent the U.S. at subsequent Olympics. He is the American record holder over the 1,500m, 3,000m and 5,000m. 

Lagat told NYRR, “I first competed in New York City in 2001 at the Millrose Games, and fell in love with the city on that trip. I’ve been back again and again, and now have eight Wanamaker Mile titles, five podium finishes at the Fifth Avenue Mile, and I set the U.S. 5000-meter indoor record there. A few years ago, I was able to watch the TCS New York City Marathon from one of the lead vehicles, and I knew that when I ran a marathon someday, I wanted it to be in New York. I’m so excited to return for this new challenge and hope to continue the success I’ve had there.”

Geoffrey Kamworor, Kenya, 25

Geoffrey Kamworor
Photo: Canadian Running.

Kamworor is the defending New York champion and reigning world half-marathon champion from 2018. In the 2018 half-marathon championships race, Kamworor split a shocking 13:01 from kilometre 15-20. That’s insanely fast. He’s got the speed, and Sunday will show if he’s able to produce a marathon time as impressive as his half-marathon results. 

Lelisa Desisa, Ethiopia, 28

With the second-fastest incoming seed time of 2:04:45, Desisa is the 2013 and 2015 Boston Marathon champion, and was second in 2016. The runner participated in the Nike Breaking2 project in May of 2017, and has since run a 59:52 half-marathon in September of this year. 

Shura Kitata, Ethiopia, 22

Kitata is the youngest of the elite field, but certainly one to watch. The 22-year-old made headlined earlier this year when he finished second at the London Marathon in 2:04:49. 

Daniel Wanjiru, Kenya, 26

Wanjiru is the 2017 London Marathon champion and was eighth in 2018, in 2:10:35. Sunday will be Wanjiru’s New York debut. 

Abdi Abdirahman, USA, 41

The four-time Olympian is no stranger to the New York City. He’s feeling confident heading into the race and told NYRR, “For 16 years New York City has been like a second home to me, and it’s where I’ve had some of the best races of my career. I’ve been training hard for this race in the mountains of Flagstaff with my friends Bernard (Lagat) and Juan Luis (Barrios), and we’re ready to put it all out there on November 4. May the best man win, baby.”

Tamirat Tola, Ethiopia, 27

Tola’s personal best of 2:04:06 places him as the fastest entry in the event. His time is from the Dubai marathon in 2018. He was second at the London Marathon in 2017, and third in the Olympic 10,000m in 2016.