United Airlines NYC Half Marathon returns for full scale race

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United States’ Daniel Romanchuk won the wheelchair division at the United Airlines NYC Half on March 20/ Screenshot via NYRR video

The United Airlines NYC Half returned with a full scale of runners on March 20. 

The New York Road Runners (NYRR) welcomed back Sunday approximately 25,000 participants to the annual race after two years of cancellations due to the pandemic, making it the first full signature run for event organizers since 2019. 

The 13.1-mile trek saw runners start in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park and traverse through Grand Army Plaza, the Manhattan Bridge, United Nations, Grand Central Terminal and Times Square before ending at the iconic TCS New York City Marathon finish line in Central Park. 

This year’s lineup consisted of 22 Olympians, six Paralympians, and other local and national fan favorites, like Amy Robach and T.J. Holmes, former NFL player Tiki Barber, motorsports racing driver Ryan Briscoe, former Miss Universe Andrea Meza, New York City Fire Department Acting Commissioner Laura Kavanaugh, and New York City Parks Commissioner Susan Donoghue.

Ethiopia’s Senbere Teferi and Kenya’s Rhonex Kipruto both won the open division titles. The early morning run also saw United States’ Daniel Romanchuk and Switzerland’s Manuela Schär who both claimed the wheelchair division crowns at the United Airlines NYC Half.

Two-time Olympian Teferi is the third Ethiopian woman to win the race and set a new course and event record by finishing at 1:07:35, beating Molly Huddle’s 2016 record by six seconds. 

“I was being very careful throughout the race and watching my pace. I’m very happy to have won,” Teferi said.

Twenty-two-year-old Kipruto made his second victory in Central Park—the first time was in 2018 for the UAE Healthy Kidney 10K. Kipruto was fifth fastest in event history at 1:00:30. 

“I feel good because I’ve come back again to win, and my first win was in New York,” Kipruto said. “It was not an easy win because the course is very hilly. It was about the win, not about the time.”

Romanchuk is the only other American, along with Josh George, to have won the men’s wheelchair division.  This was his second event title win and he raced two minutes faster than his time in 2019.

“I’m really happy to be back in New York racing and to see the city so alive,” Romanchuk said. “I had a plan to give it all I had, but nothing’s over until it’s done.”

In addition to adult runners, the race welcomed children to take part in a 1,500-meter course in Times Square on Seventh Avenue.

“In early March 2020, the United Airlines NYC Half was one of the first mass sporting events to be canceled during the onset of the pandemic,” said Kerin Hempel, CEO, NYRR in a press release. “We are extremely excited for the glorious return of this popular race. It will be reflective of our city’s vigor and serve as a defining moment as we bring our races back to full scale.”