NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Runners are crossing the finish line in the 2011 ING New York City Marathon.
Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya won men’s division in a course record time. Mutai finished in an unofficial time of 2 hours, 5 minutes, 6 seconds Sunday, crushing the previous mark of 2:07:43 set by Tesfaye Jifar of Ethiopia a decade earlier.
PHOTOS: 2011 NYC Marathon
The second and third-place finishers Sunday also broke the old course record. Fellow Kenyan Emmanuel Mutai (no relation), the London Marathon champ, was 1:22 back. Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia was third.
In the women’s division, Firehiwot Dado of Ethiopia has won. The 27-year-old Dado won in an unofficial time of 2 hours, 23, minutes 15 seconds, almost a minute better than her previous personal best.
LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Marc Ernay reports on the winners
Fellow Ethiopian Buzunesh Deba, who lives in the Bronx, was second for her first podium finish at a major marathon, four seconds back. Keitany was third, 24 seconds back.
Amanda McGrory of the United States set a course record in the women’s wheelchair race and Masazumi Soejima of Japan won the men’s wheelchair race at the New York City Marathon.
The 25-year-old McGrory of Champaign, Ill., finished the 26.2-mile course through the five boroughs of New York in 1 hour, 50 minutes, 24 seconds.
The 41-year-old Soejima finished in 1:31:41, followed by Kurt Fearnley of Australia (1:33:56) and Kota Hokinoue of Japan (1:34:22).
More than 46,000 runners from around the country and around the world are taking part.
LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck with spectators
The race kicked off on Staten Island at Fort Wadsworth, with runners crossing first over the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge into Brooklyn and then traveling through the city’s other boroughs.
NYC Marathon spokesman Richard Finn said city agencies had done a superb job cleaning up after the storm, which dumped about 3 inches of wet, heavy snow in the park.
“All the people stepped up in New York City,” he said at Central Park early Thursday afternoon. “The race course is clean. It’s ready.”
LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Tom Kaminski reports on some of the runners
The 2011 New York City Marathon was dedicated to the memory of Greta Vice, a nine-time champion of this event.
But everyone who participates today is a champion to someone as evidence by some of the signs people have been holding up, like one that read “Go Dad, We Love You, We Are Proud of You.
Out of the more than 45,000 participants, around 6,800 are running in support of a charitable cause, everything from cancer research to animal welfare.
LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reports
For Wolfgang Bueler from California, there is a lot of money riding on him finishing the 26.2 mile race.
“A $1,000 per minute that I am under four and I hope to break 3:30,” he said.
Wearing a T-shirt that says “The Heart of Africa,” he’s raising money for women and children in a region that has produced many marathon winners.
“Runners are familiar with Rift Valley in Kenya. I have Rift Valley in a different light. I have witnessed the poverty and the street kids and they just simply aren’t cared for and have no family,” said Bueler.
LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reports on the diversity of the race
Saturday night, athletes and their friends and loved ones sat down for pastas and salads at the marathon pavilion in Central Park.
It was a chance for runners to relax and get their minds focused on the race.
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redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)