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Marathon Sunday: A New Ethiopian Champ Wins the Marathon, a Chilean Miner Survives to the Finish

Sunday, November 07, 2010

It's sometimes referred to as the Super Bowl of marathons. Over 45,000 runners from all 50 states and over 100 countries descended on New York City Sunday for the 41st marathon. With a cloudless sky and brisk winds, it was perfect running weather.

The race kicked off with a scramble across the Verrazano Narrows Bridge and runners coming off the exit at Dahlgren Place in Bayridge were greeted by a sign that read, "Yo! Welcome to Brooklyn USA." That was courtesy of Henry Langan, 71, who's been carting his sign out and supporting runners since the race started in the 1970s.

"I'm not a 'yo' guy myself," Langan said Sunday. But, "these guys are really courageous when they come down. I can't even believe the speeds that they do."

Langan is also infamous among the neighbors for chiding the back of the pack runners. "If you slow down a little there buddy, you can be the last person," he shouted at one. "You better slow down, there's another person behind you," he yelled at another runner.

One of his daughters told him to be nice, but his granddaughter said she thinks he's funny.

After the runners pass, the whole family helps to collect the assortment of gloves, sweaters, hats and jackets strewn along the course. They plan to bag them up and give them to charity.

As the race snaked it's way into Fort Greene and through Clinton Hill toward Queens, racers were greeted with live bands, cow bells and the now distinctive wail of the World Cup noise maker, the vuvuzela.

At the fifteenth mile, as the front of the pack crossed the Queensboro Bridge into Manhattan, the world record holder, Haile Gebreselassie of Ethiopia dropped out. He'd posted a message on his Twitter account Sunday morning that said, "I have some inflamation in my right knee, because of the long travel to NY city. No big problem, just some fluids. Hopefully the knee holds!" 

Gebreselassie, 37, is the only person to ever run a marathon in less than two hours and four minutes.

His fellow countryman, Gebre Gebremariam, 26, eventually won the race, in his New York City debut. He clocked in at 2 hours 8 minutes and 14 seconds.

Kenyan Edna Kiplaget came in first for the women at 2 hours 28 minutes 20 seconds. And a first-time New York Marathon runner, Shalane Flanagan, was the first American woman to finish second in over 20 years.

But the man many had their eyes on was Chilean miner, Edison Peña. He said he endured the two months trapped in the mine by hacking his boots in half and jogging around the narrow tunnels. He was invited to run, and despite a knee problem while crossing the Queensboro Bridge, managed to finish in just under six hours. 

Draped in the Chilean flag afterward, he told reporters, "I'm here because I want people to feel free. I want them to strive for their own freedom. That's why it was worthwhile for me to come this far to run a marathon. I struggled with myself, I struggled with my own pain, but I made it to the finish line."

Men's front runners crossing the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge at the 2010 New York City Marathon
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

Men's front runners crossing the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge at the 2010 New York City Marathon

Henry Langan, 71 and one of his infamous marathon signs
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

Henry Langan, 71 and one of his infamous marathon signs

One local resident wanted to show her love of Michael Jackson and support the runners
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

One local resident wanted to show her love of Michael Jackson and support the runners

Another resident of Dahlgren Place in Bayridge, just off the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge showing his support
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

Another resident of Dahlgren Place in Bayridge, just off the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge showing his support

In Bayridge, Brooklyn several locals collected the discarded clothing saying some was for family, but the rest would go to charities
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

In Bayridge, Brooklyn several locals collected the discarded clothing saying some was for family, but the rest would go to charities

Runners coming from Staten Island running down the Gowanus Expressway
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

Runners coming from Staten Island running down the Gowanus Expressway

Costumed runner in the 2010 New York City marathon
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

Costumed runner in the 2010 New York City marathon

This Brooklynite says his sign is meant to encourage, but
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

This Brooklynite says his sign is meant to encourage, but "in a guido way," he says.

Runners wrapped in emergency blankets leaving Central Park
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

Runners wrapped in emergency blankets leaving Central Park

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Comments [4]

marcus garcia

I was the sign bearer of get out of broklyn i do it every year with my bf and greet the marathoners in the beginning by verrazano bridge and again in greenpoint before the head over to queens. Its fun and people laugh and are encouraged. thanks
Marcus

Jan. 06 2011 10:17 AM
keith

I went to the NYC Marathon and it such an amazing experience!! I'd love if you'd check out my vid. from the experience here: http://bit.ly/cLlxLN

Nov. 09 2010 04:47 PM
lucy corrigan

I was just about to leave the exact same message!

Nov. 08 2010 05:18 PM
Flora Rodriguez from NYC

I'm really dismayed at the lack of news coverage for the female winner.

Nov. 08 2010 11:03 AM

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