NEW YORK — Lelisa Desisa, of Ethiopia, won the men’s race in the New York City Marathon on Sunday, with a time of 2 hours 5 minutes and 59 seconds, surging ahead of two other runners near the finish in Central Park. Mary Keitany, one of the fastest female marathon runners ever, won the women’s race with a time of 2:22:48, her fourth victory in the event and the second-fastest time on this course.
Desisa, 28, won his first New York City Marathon, defeating Shura Kitata, 22, also of Ethiopia, and Geoffrey Kamworor, 25, of Kenya, the defending champion and the prerace favorite. The runners ran the second-, third- and fourth-fastest times on the course.
The race, with more than 50,000 participants winding 26.2 miles through all five boroughs, unfolded in buttery fall sunshine on a cool, breezy morning that brought out hundreds of thousands of spectators.
Keitany, 36, of Kenya, made her sixth appearance in the New York City Marathon. She became only the third person to win the race four times.
She came in second last year but won in 2014, 2015 and 2016. She beat Vivian Cheruiyot, 35, of Kenya, who ran 2:26:02 and Shalane Flanagan, 37, of the United States, who came in third with a time of 2:26:22, faster than the time she ran to win last year’s race.
In the wheelchair division, Daniel Romanchuk of the United States upset the defending men’s champion, Marcel Hug of Switzerland, by one second in 1:36:21. Manuela Schar of Switzerland won the women’s race, her second victory in the event.
Keitany’s time was 17 seconds off the women’s course record, held by Margaret Okayo of Kenya with a time of 2:22:31 set in 2003.
Keitany joined Grete Waitz as the only women to win the New York City Marathon four times. Waitz, a Norwegian, won the race nine times from 1978 to 1988.
Keitany was back where she feels most comfortable in the marathon’s women’s race — far, far ahead of the rest of the pack. She ran alone as soon as she hit Manhattan and only accelerated her pace as she ground toward the finish, beating Cheruiyot by more than three minutes.
The top women’s finishers from Kenya were chased by an all-star roster of American distance runners, who worked together to challenge Keitany but could not match the pace she set, as it dropped by nearly a minute per mile in the second half of the race.
Keitany finished second to Flanagan in the marathon last year. In her last victory, in 2016, she pulled away at the half-marathon mark and beat her next challenger by 3 1/2 minutes.