NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — More than 50,000 runners are participating in the 40th annual TCS New York City marathon on Sunday.

Mary Keitany has won her third straight New York City Marathon to become the first woman to win three consecutive marathons in New York since Grete Waltz’s five-year run from 1982 to 1986.

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The 34-year-old Kenyan defended her title Sunday in an unofficial time of 2 hours, 24 minutes, 26 seconds, beating countrywoman Joyce Chepkirui by nearly four minutes.

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Last year, Keitany pulled away around the 21-mile mark. On Sunday, she began getting a sizable lead at the 15-mile mark as the race crossed the Queensboro Bridge into Manhattan.

Keitany reached Manhattan in less than 90 minutes. As she began running up First Avenue, television commentators referred to her as “The Boss of New York City,” and following the 20-mile mark, Keitany led by more than two minutes.

Eritrea’s Ghirmay Ghebresiassie took home the win in the men’s field.

Ghebresiassie finished his debut in New York with an unofficial time of 2 hours, 7 minutes, 51 seconds.

For most of the course, the men’s field was a three-man race between Ghebresiassie, Kenya’s Lucas Rotich and Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa. By mile 20, Ghebresiassie gradually began pulling away.

The 19-year-old beat Rotich by 62 seconds and became the youngest male winner in New York. The previous youngest male winners were Alberto Salazar in 1980 and Tom Fleming in 1973, who won as 22-year-olds.

Desisa, who was the runner-up in New York in 2014 and a two-time Boston Marathon winner, dropped out at the 22nd mile.

Tatyana McFadden swept the four major marathons for the fourth straight year by winning the women’s wheelchair race.

The 27-year-old American finished Sunday with an unofficial time of 1 hour, 47 minutes, 43 seconds. She again completed the Grand Slam by winning in London, Boston, Chicago and New York, extending her record streak to 17 straight wins in major marathons.

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Marcel Hug of Switzerland won his second NYC Marathon title in the men’s race and his sixth marathon this year. He edged Australia’s Kurt Fearnley by a sixth-tenths of a second, repeating their photo finish at last month’s Chicago marathon.

Defending champion Ernst Van Dyk of South Africa came in fourth.

Emotions were high for both participants and spectators.

One spectator told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell she got choked up when she saw her husband run past her along the route.

“This has been an amazing, amazing experience — he’s always wanted to do this, this is his first marathon and I’m here with my two daughters and his parents, and we cheered him on,” she said. “I got choked up watching him run this.”

A marathon runner told 1010 WINS’ Steve Kastenbaum that there’s nothing like the crowds and overwhelming support from spectators during the NYC race.

“People are just excited about everything — the screaming and shouting from all the fans, it’s an experience like no other,” he said.

Spectator Winnie Chan was in Brooklyn rooting for a friend.

“I’m really excited for her cause it’s her first marathon and it’s also really exciting to see the other runners too,” Chan said. “They’ve worked so hard and trained so hard to get here, and to see them actually doing it, it’s really fun.”

Many spectators gathered along First Avenue, though some runners missed their own cheering sections despite best laid plans. Duje Jelaska pulled together a group at First Avenue and 61st Street to watch his wife, Chelsea, go by – complete with cowbells, posters, and color-coordinated clothing.

“We were trying to get her attention. But she had her headphones in,” Jelaska told WCBS 880’s Mike Smeltz. “She straight up blew by us.”

This year, about 50,000 people from more than 120 countries — half of them women — have registered. The elite athletes will be competing for a prize purse totaling $803,000, with potential time bonuses. The men’s and women’s champions will each receive $100,000. And $25,000 goes to the fastest competitor in a wheelchair.

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