New Yorker Molly Huddle and Kenya’s Leonard Korir proved victorious on Sunday when they both won the NYC Half in their respective divisions.
Korir pulled off an impressive win against his fellow Kenyan and training partner Stephen Sambu in an incredibly close margin. Sambu led the entire race, according to The New York Times, but he was outran by Korir at the last second.
“You know, most people don’t know me,” Korir said. “I think I was like a dark horse. Nobody knew I was going to win.”
Both he and Sambu dominated the entire race, together with Mexico’s Juan Luis Barrios and South Africa’s Lusapho April. Central Park served as the starting point of what was deemed as a close race among avid runners.
“I was telling myself, I will be No. 2,” Korir was quoted as saying. “But with 150 to go, I saw Stephen was not going. So I was telling myself, You know what? Win this thing.”
Sambu admitted that the loss was both unbelievable and painful.
“I didn’t know it was coming,” he said. “When I was almost at the finish line, I didn’t know he was that close. When I was trying to cross the line, he was crossing the line. I didn’t believe he was passing me.”
Female runner Huddle, on the other hand, controlled the race all throughout, according to ESPN. Kenya’s Joyce Chepkirui won second.
Before winning the race by a wide margin of 11 seconds, Huddle kept acknowledging the presence of her opponents during the entire run.
“I just kept pressing because I felt good today… [My three close rivals] were a step behind me, so I felt maybe they were tiring,” she said, as quoted by the ESPN report.
NYC Half winners Korir and Huddle each won $20,000 worth of prices.