NEW YORK – Paula Radcliffe outlasted Gete Wami to win the New York City Marathon on Sunday, her first marathon in two years after giving birth in January.
Martin Lel of Kenya won the men's title, making his kick in the final mile (1.6 kilometers) to edge Abderrahim Goumri of Morocco in 2 hours, 9 minutes, 4 seconds in the first race without a pacesetter. Hendrick Ramaala of South Africa finished third in 2:11:25.
Radcliffe, the world-record holder, ran almost the entire race with Wami on her heels before pulling away over the last mile. She finished in 2:23:09 in cool, sunny conditions. It's her second NYC Marathon title, having won in 2004 after dropping out of the Athens Olympics marathon.
Wami, running her second marathon in only 35 days, finished in 2:23:32 and won the inaugural US$500,000 (euro345,330) World Marathons Majors title.
Two-time defending champion Jelena Prokopcuka was a distant third in 2:26:13, a day after elite runner Ryan Shay collapsed and died at the U.S. men's marathon trails in Central Park. There was a moment of silence for Shay before the start of the men's race.
The 33-year-old Radcliffe was greeted by her husband Gary Lough and daughter Isla at the finish line. She hadn't run a marathon since the 2005 World Championships in Helsinki, but ran during her pregnancy, including 12 days after she gave birth.
Radcliffe and Wami made it a two-woman race early. They extended their lead to 2 minutes at the 10-mile (16-kilometer) mark ahead of Lidiya Grigoryeva of Russia, Catherine Ndereba of Kenya and Prokopcuka.
By the 20-mile (32-kilometer) mark, they extended the lead to 3:33. Radcliffe pulled away as she entered Central Park at mile 24 (38.6 kilometers), but Wami took a brief lead with about a mile to go. Radcliffe regained the lead in the final stretch.