New York, March 20, 2016 – Three event records were broken on the streets of Manhattan at the 2016 United Airlines NYC Half on Sunday, March 20, in an event that featured 12 Olympians and 12 Paralympians.
Molly Huddle, an Elmira, NY, native, defended her United Airlines NYC Half title, beating Joyce Chepkirui (KEN) by eight hundredths of a second in a thrilling photo finish with a time of1:07:41.
“I knew once I hit those final 150 meters, I just needed to sprint,” Huddle said. “I kind of was just trying to get my body across the line and not fall at the same time.”
Chepkirui was second for the second consecutive year, finishing a stride behind Huddle.
In the men’s field, Kenyan Stephen Sambu took first place in 1:01:16, his first victory in the event after finishing second last year and third the year prior. Sambu was followed by runner-up and compatriot Wilson Chebet (KEN), who crossed the finish line 1:01:35, and Sam Chelanga (USA), who clocked in at 1:01:43.
Seven-time Paralympic medalist Ernst Van Dyk (RSA) and 11-time Paralympic medalist Tatyana McFadden (USA) smashed the course records in the men’s and women’s wheelchair races, respectively.
Van Dyk captured the top prize in 47:37 and McFadden took her title in 52:25.
“This year was really important for the (United Airlines NYC) Half to kind of set me up really nicely for Boston and really nicely for the rest of the season,” McFadden said.
This was the 11th running of the United Airlines NYC Half – the first of five events in the NYRR Five-Borough Series. The professional athlete prize purse totals $115,000. The course took runners through a tour of Manhattan–through Central Park, Times Square, and down the West Side Highway to the finish in the financial district. Unofficially, there were 20,155 finishers who completed the course.
The NYRR Times Square Kids’ Run at the United Airlines NYC Half featured 1,000 kids ages 7-18 who competed in a 1500-meter out-and-back road race on Seventh Avenue that started and ended in Times Square. The race included a youth wheelchair heat for the first time.
2016 United Airlines NYC Half
Top five male finishers:
1. Stephen Sambu, 27, KEN 1:01:16
2. Wilson Chebet, 30, KEN 1:01:35
3. Sam Chelanga, 31, USA 1:01:43
4. Juan Luis Barrios, 32, MEX 1:02:02
5. Diego Estrada, 26, USA 1:02:15
Top five female finishers:
1. Molly Huddle, 31, USA 1:07:41*
2. Joyce Chepkirui, 27, KEN 1:07:41
3. Diane Nukuri, 31, BDI 1:09:41
4. Fionnuala McCormack, 31, IRL 1:10:44
5. Caroline Rotich, 31, KEN 1:10:45
Top three men’s wheelchair division finishers:
1. Ernst Van Dyk, 42, RSA 47:37*
2. Aaron Pike, 29, USA 48:47
3. Brian Siemann, 26, USA 50:30
Top three women’s wheelchair division finishers:
1. Tatyana McFadden, 26, USA 52:25*
2. Manuela Schar, 31, SUI 53:10
3. Susannah Scaroni, 24, USA 55:15
Winners of NYRR Times Square Kids’ Run at 2016 United Airlines NYC Half
Wheelchair race: Miguel Jimenez (New Jersey)
High school boy: Juan Castro (Puerto Rico)
High school girl: Michelle Arellano (Manhattan)
Middle school boy: Azwad Sourav (Brooklyn)
Middle school girl: Aoife Kenny (Queens)
Elementary school boy: Jelani Johnson (Queens)
Elementary school girl: Sana Hussain (Queens)