It seemed a bit cold for spectators this morning, but for the more than 52,000 runners that took part in the TCS New York City Marathon, the brisk temperature was perfect for their arduous trek across the five boroughs.
The runners come from 125 countries and all 50 states who started in Staten Island in 44-degree temperatures for the start of race which is now in its 49th year.
A pair of Kenyans won the big race – the winning woman, Joyciline Jepkosgei, 26, ran her first-ever New York City Marathon with a finishing time of 2:22:38 and won $100,000 for the effort. Geoffrey Kamworor, also 26, won the men’s division for a second time, clocking in a 2:08:13.
Kamworor’s path to victory was cleared when defending champ Lelisa Desisa dropped out of this year’s race — quitting after just seven miles. It was not immediately known why he dropped out. Desisa had just competed in the tough World athletics Championship Marathon in sweltering Qatar 29 days earlier.
There were many stories at this year’s marathon, stories of courage and rising from the ashes of pain. Most striking was the run by Lisa Tuozzolo who three years earlier lost her husband, NYPD Sgt. Paul Tuozzolo, who died in the line of duty – shot in the chest by a man with a gun. Lisa ran accompanied by Chief of Department Terrence Monahan and several other officers. She said she ran the race in her husband’s honor.
“I’m doing this for Paul. I know he’s looking down and one side of his mouth he’s saying am I nuts am I out of my mind, and on the other side he’s saying how proud he is of me for proving that nothing’s gonna knock me down,” Lisa told Eyewitness News this week.
Marathoners raced through the five boroughs, exiting off into Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, and getting a warm welcome from residents.
Jeannie Paolillo, a MTA bus driver, cheered on the marathoners as they entered Brooklyn from Staten Island.
“Usually, I’m working — I’m a city bus operator and I wanted to show for this, it’s like an event. Then we go home and have a nice breakfast, the guys set up up tents — it’s a whole party,” Paolillo said.
Connie Pitsouis stood at the 92nd Street exit from the Verrazano Bridge with a big poster that read “Brooklyn, home to everyone from everywhere.”
“We just want to welcome the runners – this is the first stop into Brooklyn and we want them to konw this is the best borough in the city,” Pitsouis said.
Mike Basile of Bay Ridge brought out his whole family to watch the race.
“We live right over here and it is exciting for the kids, they like the runners, the wheelchairs, handicaps it’s a nice little day,” he said as he stood with his children Michael Jr. and Julianne.
In Greenpoint, the runners made the turn onto McGuiness Boulevard and onto the uphill run of the Pulaski Bridge, the halfway point in the marathon. Just before the bridge, a man dressed as President Donald Trump, greeted the runners with the poster, “Hitting a Wall? I can help with that.”
Jennie Wang and Vicki Fung of Long Island City made it up onto the Pulaski Bridge – overlooking the Manhattan skyline – and crossed from Brooklyn to Queens. Both were exhausted, but determined.
“Yes, we are coming close to home – yes, it’s temping to just go home and give it up,” Wang said, “but we will keep going.”
In Long Island City, crowds were also wall to wall, residents holding posters. In one case, a female resident held a picture of one of the runners they called, “Anderson Cooper.” Tiffany Thornton of Long Island City stood with friend Jared Baltowsky of Chicago and waited for their friend, a look-a-like to Cooper, Joel Slagger, Chicago.
“This is a great spot and we are greeting him here,” she said as she waved her picture of him as he arrived for a brief hug. “This is a great spot and he did it all today.”