Priscah Jeptoo's stride is not one that anyone would consider classic. Her knees bend inward, her ankles splay outward with every step. She looks more like someone who is casually running home from school than a professional winning one of the world's great races. It just goes to show that there is more than one way to do anything, including winning the women's New York City Marathon.
The 29-year-old from Kenya, who has won the London and Paris marathon and was the Olympic silver medalist in 2012, crossed the finish line in Central Park today in 2 hours, 25 minutes, 7 seconds.
Jeptoo trailed Buzunesh Deba, an Ethiopian who lives in the Bronx and trains all over the city, for most of the race, but patiently kept going with that legs-akimbo style, taking the lead just at the 24-mile mark and cruised to the title in her first New York City Marathon appearance. Deba and her training partner and another current New Yorker, Tigist Tufa Demisse, had broke ahead early and had led most of the way, but Tufa dropped behind and finished eighth. Deba glanced backward at Jeptoo nearing the 24-mile mark but could not hold her off.
The fourth of 11 children raised on a farm in Chemnoet, she fell in love with running when she was young--her mother Beatrice Samoei was a distance runner. During her training, Jeptoo fell in love with a fellow runner, Douglas Chepsirot, who has since given up his own career to serve as her trainer. He was there to hug her at the finish yesterday.
Jeptoo took some time off in 2008, when her son was born, but came back stronger than ever after that.