Stories of Triumph from the 2019 TSC New York City Marathon

Highlights from one of the biggest races of the year.

Photo from nyrr.org.

Photo from nyrr.org.

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Sunday, November 3, was the 49th anniversary of the TSC New York City Marathon. Thousands of runners and spectators took advantage of the clear skies to race or watch the event. The 26.2 mile course began in Staten Island, taking runners through all five boroughs of the city, finishing in Central Park.

The Winners: Geoffrey Kamworor and Joyciline Jepkosgei

Geoffrey Kamworor and Joyciline Jepkosgei win the NYC Marathon; photo from People.

Geoffrey Kamworor and Joyciline Jepkosgei, both from Kenya, won the Men’s and Women’s races. Kamworor crossed the finish line in 2:08:13, defeating Albert Korir (second) and Girma Bekele Gebre (third). Kamworor had previously won the NYC Marathon in 2017.

The Women’s race was much more unpredictable. Jepkosgei, a newcomer, defeated reigning champion Mary Keitany in 2:22:38, which was just 7 seconds off record time.

While the winners are important, of course, there were many others who also defied odds, overcame challenges, or reached new heights.

Micah Herndon

Herndon crawled to the finish line at the Boston Marathon after his legs cramped up, making him unable to run; photo from Good Morning America.

Micah Herndon is a Marine who ran in honor of his best friends Mark Juarez, Matthew Ballard, and Rupert Hamer, each of whom were killed when their vehicle hit an IED in Afghanistan in 2010.

Herndon captured the hearts of many when he crawled to the finish line at the Boston Marathon earlier this year, running for his friends. After Boston, Herndon was invited to appear on Good Morning America, where he received a bib to run the New York City Marathon and a second chance to finish the race way he wanted. On Sunday, he beat his Boston time by 33 minutes, finishing in 3:05:50.

Abigail Anderson

Anderson (left) ran the Marathon in honor of her deceased sister, Gabriele Grunewald (right); photo from womensrunning.com.

Abigail Anderson, sister of distance runner Gabriele (Gabe) Grunewald, ran the Marathon in Grunewald’s honor. Grunewald, a professional middle-distance runner, died earlier this year due to a rare form of cancer. Throughout her treatment, she continued to compete at a high level and even started a charity, Brave Like Gabe, to support research for rare cancers.

Anderson ran the New York City Marathon for Brave Like Gabe, raising $4,363 and finishing with a time of 3:08:35.

Liza Donnelly

Donnelly’s drawing of the start in Staten Island; photo from Runner’s World.

Liza Donnelly, a satirical caricaturist with a passion for live drawings, decided to put her talents to action at the New York City Marathon. After her daughter beat thyroid cancer, Donnelly ran the Marathon for Team in Training to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. During the race, Donnelly completed live drawings that will be auctioned for donations for her cause. She completed the race in 7 hours and 12 minutes, stopping at least five times to draw scenes from the Marathon.

Marcus Cook

Cook held a cut-out of his former frame as he crossed the finish line; photo from Runner’s World.

Cook’s fitness journey began in 2015. He weighed almost 500 pounds, and he knew he needed to make a change. After gastric bypass surgery, Cook began running and putting his endurance to the test. In 2018, he competed at the Ironman World Championships.

Now 47 years old, Cook ran the New York City Marathon this year, carrying with him a cardboard cut-out of himself when he weighed nearly 500 pounds to recognize how far he’s come from where he started.

Asha Noppeney

Noppeney crossed the finish line in NYC with a time of 13:13:41; photo from ESPN.

When Asha Noppeney was just 7 years old, a bicycle accident in her home country of Uganda required her to get a leg amputation. She had to relearn how to walk using prosthetics, but she never thought she would be able to run marathons.

That all changed when Noppeney became determined to run again. In the past ten years, she has ran 9 marathons. In New York City on Sunday, she struggled during the last few miles because of pain due to her prosthetic leg but pushed through and crossed the finish line. She is 65 years old.

Uniting people from all over the world, the TCS New York City Marathon is always an incredible and inspiring event that exemplifies human strength and perseverance. These stories of triumph remind us that with the right effort and attitude, we can do anything we set our minds to, and that the only thing holding us back is ourselves.