The 49th Annual NYC Marathon: 26.2 Miles of Electrifying Energy


Fiona Danyko, FCRH `20, competes the NYC marathon for the second year. (Coutesy of Fiona Danyko)

Taylor Mascetta, Contributing Writer

On a chilly Sunday morning, runners from all over the world huddled in Staten Island as they prepared for the race of their lives — the 49th annual New York City marathon.

The prestigious race occurred on Nov. 3 this year.  The notoriously difficult 26.2 mile course begins in Staten Island and wraps through Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and The Bronx before culminating in Central Park. A record setting 52,813 runners finished the race on the brisk 45 degree morning.

This year’s marathon had many defining moments. A first time marathoner won on the women’s side, and a former winner came back to claim the title once again on the men’s side.

Joyceline Jepkosgei, 26, hailing from Kenya and the current women’s half marathon world record holder, told reporters her goal this year was simply to finish her first marathon.

In the end, she breezed across the finish line in a blistering two hours, 22 minutes and 38 seconds, claiming victory. Her time missed the course record by seven seconds, but regardless remains the second fastest performance in NYC marathon history.

Jepkosgei is also the youngest champion since Margaret Okayo, who won the 2001 marathon at age 25. To cap off her historic victory, Jepkosgei became the first woman to win both the NYC marathon and the NYC half-marathon.

“I didn’t really know I could win,” Jepkosgei said to ESPN reporters following her victory. “But I was trying my best to do it, and to make it and to finish strong.”

Finishing 53 seconds behind her was reigning champion Mary Keitany, who collapsed following her finish. Keitany, also from Kenya, is a four-time champion of the NYC marathon. Other notable finishers include 2018 Boston Marathon champion Desi Linden, who placed sixth overall in 2:26.49. Other top American finishers include Kellyn Taylor in seventh and Alpine Tuliamuk in twelfth.

On the men’s side, Kenyan Geoffrey Kamworor, 26, returned to the NYC Marathon with a vengeance. Kamworor, who won in 2017 and placed third last year secured the victory, crossing the line in two hours, eight minutes, and 13 seconds. He pulled away from second place finisher, Kenyan Albert Korir, with two miles to go.

Following the race, Kamworor credited his training partner and mentor, Eliud Kipchoge, with inspiring him to pursue the victory. Kipchoge, the current men’s marathon record holder, broke the seemingly impossible two hour mark in an unofficial marathon earlier this month, where he was aided by elite pacers and advanced technology.

Last year’s champion, Ethiopian Lelisa Desisa, dropped out of the race around seven miles in. According to officials, he felt tightness in his hamstring.

The United States’ top finishers include Jared Ward, who placed sixth in 2:10.46 and Abdi Abdirahmran, who finished ninth. Abdirahman, 42, bested his own age 40-and-up record today.

Along with the winners, many members of the Fordham family — current students, professors and alumni alike — raced the 26.2 mile trek.
Fiona Danyko, FCLC ’20, said the marathon was a huge milestone.

Danyko decided to compete in the NYC marathon with her best friend, Aislinn Keely, FCRH ’20, her sophomore year. The pair met when competing on their high school cross country team their freshman year, and running the NYC marathon has been a dream for them ever since. Going into the race, Danyko said she didn’t want to focus on hitting a certain time. Instead, her goal was to enjoy it.

“I was happy that I made sure to take moments to smile and enjoy myself, since that can seem impossible during 26.2 miles,” she said. “The race felt like a celebration, and it really made me feel like a part of the New York City community.”

The marathon’s atmosphere demonstrated NYC’s lively, all-inclusive spirit. Crowds of thousands of supporters cheered the runners on for miles upon miles, motivating them to keep going. Danyko said the immense amount of support, whether it was a shared smile with a stranger, receiving mid-race orange slices or hearing motivating words of affirmation, helped push her to the finish line.

Danyko said the defining moments of her race were seeing Fordham friends and family on the sidelines, cheering her on through every step. The final stretch of the race — which is usually referred to as “hitting the wall” — can feel impossible, but Danyko’s mother, her mother’s friend and another family friend pushed her through the last grueling miles.

Along with her family and friends, many Fordham students traveled to the various boroughs to support their fellow students. At one point, Danyko said she called out to a group of Fordham spectators and they responded with delight and high-fives.

Every year, the NYC marathon illustrates the beauty of the NYC community. The trek through the five boroughs expresses the diversity of New York City and the people electrify the air with trademark excitement and encouragement.

For Danyko, the race was a truly unforgettable experience.

“From the moment the cannon went off in Staten Island and ‘New York, New York’ started playing over the speakers, to crossing the finish line in Central Park, it was clear that the only place in the world that could produce that kind of an environment is New York City,” she said.