-- February 27, 2022 -- A pair of history-making
victories brightened a drizzly Sunday morning as the male and female winners of
the Publix Atlanta Marathon both ran the fastest-ever half marathons on Georgia
Breaking the state and course records for 13.1
miles were Kenyans Nicholas Kosimbei and Dorcas Tuitoek, who were both making
rare visits to the U.S. Kosimbei - in his first road race in this country after
two appearances on the track - broke the tape and dominated his rivals in
1:00:36 to smash the previous Georgia mark of 1:03:59. Tuitoek won in 1:08:22,
edging the record of 1:08:29 set here last year by Molly Seidel, who went on to
win a bronze medal in the Olympic Games marathon.
Also bettering the men's mark - but trailing
Kosimbei by more than two minutes - were runners-up Raymond Magut (1:02:40) and
Geoffrey Koech (1:03:13) to round out the top three. Fellow Kenyan Mike
Cheshire, in fourth, ran 1:03:38 to also slip under the old record.
Kosimbei, 25, said his strategy had been to
break away early and he did exactly that, going through 10K in 28:42, already
almost 30 seconds in front of Magut and Koech.
"I was expecting to break the course record,"
he declared after the finish.
Finishing as the top American man, sixth
overall, was a familiar face: Matt McDonald, now running for the Boston
Athletic Association who previously competed for Atlanta Track Club.
"It's fun to run by so many of my old spots,"
said McDonald, who finished in 1:05:32. "Almost every mile, I had some memory
of some good time in that neighborhood, whether it was Georgia Tech where I did
my Ph.D. or Piedmont Park where I did all my workouts."
In the women's race, the 24-year-old Tuitoek
also took command early, building a gap of 22 seconds over Mary Munanu by 10K.
Munanu would go on to finish in 1:10:00, with Kenyan countrywoman Viola Cheptoo
third in 1:10:47.
Tuitoek, running only her second race in the
U.S., called it "a great day. I prepared well to run the hills."
Top American woman was Dakotah Lindwurm of
Eagan, Minnesota, finishing fourth overall. She, too, was making a return of
sorts to Atlanta, after competing in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Marathon.
"It didn't disappoint, that's for sure," she
said. "It's still as hilly as I remember it."
Atlanta Track Club, the race organizer, offered
a prize purse of $17,000 for the half marathon, with an added bonus of $2,500
for breaking the Georgia state record.