A relatively unknown runner came from behind to win the New York Half-Marathon on Sunday morning. Belay Tilahun of Ethiopia crossed the line in 1:02:10 to take the win, edging out the likes of Olympic silver medallist Paul Chelimo, Canadian marathon record holder Cam Levins and Olympian Jared Ward

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Tilahun shocked fans, crossing the line in first place wearing a non-elite number. Second place went to Daniel Mesfun in 1:02:16 and third place to Chelimo in 1:02:19. Sunday was Chelimo’s half-marathon debut. Canada’s Cam Levins appears to have had a difficult day, finishing in 1:05:10, almost three minutes off his personal best, set last year at the World Half-Marathon Championships. Levins will now look forward to the London Marathon this April where he’s hoping to take down his own Canadian record set in 2018 at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. 

STWM start line. Photo: Canadian Running

Tilahun is only 23 years old, but ran a 1:01:51 half-marathon two years ago in Spain. While the young runner is relatively unknown to North American audiences, he’s clearly a very strong competitor, having also run a 27:11 10,000m in the Netherlands in 2016. 

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The women’s race was won decisively by half-marathon world record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei in 1:10:07. The race for second place was extremely tight, with both second and third place finishers crossing the line in 1:11:07. Mary Ngugi came out on top with Buze Diriba finishing third a fraction of a second behind her. 

Canada’s Sasha Gollish did not start, due to an ankle injury. 

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