New York (AP) - Gebre Gebremariam saw his country's greatest marathoner pull up in pain on the
"I can't, Gebre. You have to move," the 37-year-old told Gebremariam as the leaders of the New York City Marathon ran on. "You have to reach them."
Gebremariam, who started the race certain he couldn't win it, soon became a believer. The 26-year-old pulled away from
Edison Pena, who less than a month ago was in a collapsed Chilean mine awaiting rescue, ran and walked on a bad knee to complete the 26.2 miles about 20 minutes ahead of his 6-hour goal. Pena, who jogged regularly underground during the 69-day ordeal, covered the last 12 miles of the race with bags of ice on his swollen knees.
At the finish, the 34-year-old was draped in a Chilean flag as his favorite music -- Elvis -- played over the speakers.
"I'm here because I want people to feel free," Pena said. "I want them to strive for their own freedom. That's why it was worthwhile for me to come this far to run a marathon. ... I struggled with myself, I struggled with my own pain, but I made it to the finish line."
Gebrselassie, the only runner on Earth to finish a marathon in less than 2 hours, 4 minutes, announced his retirement after dropping out of the race. Not even Gebremariam, the 2009 cross-country world champion, expected that he would be the next Ethiopian winner.
"Even I told my wife, 'I can finish this race, but I can't win,'" Gebremariam said. "When I saw in 19 or 17 miles, you know, I can win. I saw the pace and listen to my body too, so I can win."
His wife, Werknesh Kidane, is an elite distance runner herself, who also planned to make her marathon debut in
"So maybe next year she'll come and she'll win too," Gebremariam said with a smile.
Another Kenyan, Moses Kigen Kipkosgei, was third. Defending champion Meb Keflezighi of the
The 31-year-old Kiplagat, who like Gebremariam takes home $130,000, won her first major marathon title in 2:28:20.
"When we were in the 24th mile, I tried to put more effort," she said. "I found myself pulling away from the field, so I was excited when I reached 25 miles because that's when I found I was ahead of the other ladies.
"When I crossed the finish line, I was so happy."
Flanagan, the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist in the 10,000 meters, was 20 seconds back. Kim Jones in 1990 was the last American woman to finish in the top two. With the event doubling as the
"I'm very grateful for second, first of all. But as soon as I finished I thought about what I could have done to have won it," Flanagan said. "So I think that's why the marathon is so addicting, because you always want more to do it again."
More than 45,000 runners started the 41st edition of the race through the city's five boroughs.