Thousands of runners take on the premier NYC Half Marathon

Photo by Muhammad Shumail

Catch me if you can! Kenya’s Abel Kipchumba, 30, was crowned the champion of the world’s premier NYC Half Marathon, breaking the tap at 1:00:25 to clinch the first spot in a nail-biting contest this past Sunday.

Morocco’s Zouhair Talbi, 28, managed to lock in 2nd place, clocking in at 1:00:41, finishing just 16 seconds behind the winner as EritreanEthiopian Yemane Haileselassie took third place, timing at 1:01:37 in the men’s open division.

“I must go; I must win,” said Kipchumba, who hit the home run in his debut at the United Airlines NYC Half Marathon. 

The United Airlines New York Road Runners Half Marathon has drawn an array of the world’s ranking athletes this year, including 10 Olympians, six Paralympians, and several more professional athletes preparing to make their mark at the 2024 Paris Olympics this summer.

Norway’s Karoline Bjerkeli Grovdal, the first European to win this race since 2010, fought off the Kenyan duo Gladys Chepkurui and Edna Kiplagat to cross the finish line in 1:09:09, with the other two finishing just 18 and 47 seconds behind the leader, respectively.

“I have been third place three times before,” She said. “It was just fantastic to cross the finish line first.” She was lagging a few places when she reminded herself to never give up, eventually grabbing the title for the women’s open division.

Nev Schulman (l) and Casey Neistat (r) Photo by Muhammad Shumail

The NYC Half marathon runners got the chance to pace along with inspiring people and celebrities alike, with Lil Nas X, aka Montero, making a surprise appearance at the finish line. YouTube phenomenon Casey Neistat popped up at the crossing line who put his runners’ shoes back on after his last run in 2009. Mexican-American Jacob Hoyos ran in support of mental and physical health in the Latinx community.

Women’s wheelchair defending champion Susannah Scaroni got off to a roaring start before crossing the finish line in 53:50 minutes, with Netherland’s Geert Schipper topping the men’s wheelchair division at 48:43 minutes.

The star-studded race kicked off near Prospect Park early morning, with more than 25,000 runners trekking along the 13.1-mile course, passing through historical landmarks and diverse neighborhoods before finishing off at Central Park.

Lil Nas XPhoto by Muhammad Shumail

In its second year, the Commissioner’s Cup expanded to include the mayor’s office and eight city agencies as compared to two last year, with NYPD jealously defending the cup this year as NYCDOT and FDNY scored the 2nd and 3rd spots on the podium, respectively.

Sunday’s event also featured more than 1500 kids sprinting off the start line for the Times Square Kids Run, which organizers and participants believe would inspire them to take up the sport.

Crossing over the Manhattan Bridge, runners hit the tarmac on FDR Drive before passing through Times Square—closed only twice a year other than New Year’s Eve—to end at Central Park West 67th Street. USPS removed or sealed off mailing boxes along the course length, with the city’s administration closing more than 20 streets for the runners’ safety.

Thousands of pacers finished the exhaustive race gracefully, and some (quite frankly) not so much. Some finishers reached the “final destination” with their heads high, arms stretched out, rocking the victory sign, and screaming in disbelief that they survived. Others made it to the end line, stumbling, limping, desperate to catch a breath, lunging for the side rails, and questioning the very moment they made a choice to sign up for the uphill 13.1-mile course.

NYRR, a non-profit that produces 60 adult and youth races in NYC annually, pledges to reduce its environmental footprint through sustainability initiatives. This year, for the first time, all finisher medals are made of 100 percent recycled steel, and the ribbons are made out of recycled material, with the fully electric four pace cars leading the way.

Final results can be found at the NYRR official website.

Photo by Muhammad Shumail
Photo by Muhammad Shumail
Photo by Muhammad Shumail
Photo by Muhammad Shumail
Photo by Muhammad Shumail
Photo by Muhammad Shumail