Perhaps lost in the hoopla of Shalane Flanagan becoming the first American woman since 1977 to win the New York City Marathon, or Kenyan distance star Mary Keitany failing to win a fourth consecutive title, was the standout performance of Long Island’s Allie Kieffer.
Kieffer, who is from West Islip, placed fifth in 2 hours, 29 minutes, 39 seconds Sunday morning, a 26.2-mile personal best, done while running with some of the best in the world.
Kieffer, who trains by herself in Buffalo, said she was extremely confident when the race started.
“I went out really conservative, so I would make the most of the talent and training that I had in me,” Kieffer said. “It worked perfectly. I felt amazing and I rolled people up at the end.”
Although she is currently unsponsored, Kieffer said that Nike allowed her to participate in one of their training programs, Project Moonshot. This gave her access to some of the best coaches in the country and, as she put it, acted as a semi-sponsorship by the shoe company.
“They helped me a lot in the buildup and really made it possible for me to see a massage therapist and do strength training,” she said. “I felt kind of sponsored, so that was really nice . . . Leading up to the race, they allowed me to put in so much more training than I would have been able to on my own because I did a lot more workouts and recovered a lot better than I could have if I didn’t see those people.”
Kieffer continued: “When I was out there, I was kind of thinking of all the people who helped me get to the start line. There were a lot of people in Buffalo that ran with me along the way and made the miles a lot easier and a lot more doable.”
Kieffer said she ran the majority of Sunday’s marathon by herself, using the friendly crowd as motivation to move forward.
“I thought that was my absolute worst nightmare,” she said of running by herself. “This city screamed my name for, like, 12 miles when I was alone. This breakout for me is like a thank you to Nike and everyone who helped me along the way.”
What would be an even bigger gift? Full sponsorship.
“Hopefully, it leads to something else and it’s a deal so I can continue living this magical story because the past three months, having Nike semi-sponsorship,” she said, “has been a dream come true.”