Ben True Victorious In Half Marathon Debut In New York City

Ben True Victorious In Half Marathon Debut In New York City

In his debut at the distance, Ben True won the New York City Half Marathon in 1:02:39. Buze Diriba outkicked Emily Sisson in the women's race.

Mar 18, 2018 by Kevin Sully
Ben True Victorious In Half Marathon Debut In New York City

Ben True’s first foray into the half marathon went about as well as possible. The 32-year-old, best known for his abilities in the 5000 and 10,000m, used his track speed to outkick Dathan Ritzenhein to win the New York City Half Marathon in 1:02:39, becoming the first American man to win the race. 

Prior to Sunday, True had never raced longer than 10 miles. But he did have years of experience in shorter distances—something that was especially useful after the conservative early pace turned the race tactical and put a premium on a fast finish. 

Cold temperatures and a headwind that True said was present for “basically 90 percent of the race” meant that nobody was keen to take the pace. 

Twenty-six men passed the 5K mark in 15:31, all well within the ability of the group. The pace quickened after the leaders ran the second 5K in 14:48, but 17 runners remained—including Wilson Chebet, Dathan Ritzenhein, Teshome Mekonen, and Stephen Sambu. As the runners passed through Times Square, Ritzenhein took the lead and a few men dropped off the lead pack before hitting the 15K mark in 14:53. 

By 56 minutes into the race, Ritzenhein’s pace had taken a toll on the group and only Mekonen, True, and Great Britain’s Chris Thompson were in contention for the win. After passing 20K in 59:40, Ritzenhein and True broke free and the race was down to two men in Central Park. 

With 200 meters to go, True put his foot on the gas and smoothly accelerated away from Ritzenhein. True had a victory in his half marathon debut. Ritzenhein finished a solid second place in 1:02:42, a very promising sign for his chances at the Boston Marathon next month. Thompson passed Mekonen to take third in 1:02:43. Scott Fauble of the United States placed fifth in 1:02:58. 


17Ben TrueUSA1:02:391:02:394:47
24Dathan RitzenheinUSA1:02:421:02:424:47
315Chris ThompsonGBR1:02:431:02:434:48
43Teshome MekonenETH1:02:441:02:444:48
514Scott FaubleUSA1:02:581:02:584:49
611Soufiane BouchikhiBEL1:03:031:03:034:49
721Kei KatanishiJPN1:03:051:03:054:49
85Chris DerrickUSA1:03:251:03:254:51
92Wilson ChebetKEN1:03:371:03:374:52
1020Futsum ZienasellassieUSA1:03:391:03:394:52
1118Parker StinsonUSA1:03:441:03:444:52
129Shadrack BiwottUSA1:04:001:04:004:53
1312Abdi AbdirahmanUSA1:04:141:04:144:54
141Stephen SambuKEN1:04:171:04:174:55
1522Shogo IseJPN1:04:561:04:564:58
168Noah DroddyUSA1:05:001:05:004:58
176Haron LagatUSA1:05:171:05:174:59
1826Brendan MartinUSA1:05:181:05:184:59
1929Timothy ChichesterUSA1:05:421:05:425:01
2023Eric GillisCAN1:05:421:05:425:01
2117Matthew LlanoUSA1:06:091:06:095:03
2231Matthew LeachGBR1:06:151:06:155:04
2327Harbert OkutiUGA1:06:151:06:155:04
2424Jonas HamptonUSA1:07:071:07:075:08
2528John RaneriUSA1:07:441:07:445:10
2619Tim YoungUSA1:08:001:08:005:12
2725Trevor HofbauerCAN1:08:201:08:205:13
2830Gustavo FrenciaARG1:11:041:11:045:26

Diriba Outkicks Sisson For Women's Title

The weather conditions and the challenging course (which was new for 2018) also made the women’s race tactical. The leaders went through 5K in 18:10 and 10K in 35:30. Just before the 10K mark, Desiree Linden took on the pace and ground the lead pack down to 11 women. All of the top runners were still involved with the exception of Vivian Cheruiyot, who had drifted off the back. 

Olympian Betsy Saina and last year’s runner-up Emily Sisson led the group through Times Square about 47 minutes into the race. A quick ninth mile of 5:10 started to put a strain on the pack as the group hit the 15K mark in 52:39. Sisson, Buze Diriba, and Mamitu Daska separated themselves, and by the time they reached the 11-mile mark it was clear that the winner was going to come from these three. 

Sisson continued to push at the front, and Diriba shadowed her every move. They covered the 5K segment between 15K and 20K in 16:24. Daska fell off the pace and was caught by Norway’s Karoline Grovdal for third place. At the front, Sisson continued to lead Diriba, but Sisson couldn’t break away from the 24-year-old Ethiopian. 

With 200 meters remaining, Diriba moved up to Sisson’s shoulder and began to pull away. Sisson tried to counter, but couldn’t. Diriba raced to victory in 1:12:23 and Sisson had her second straight runner-up finish in 1:12:24. Grovdal separated from Daska to take third and American Serena Burla ran a strong race to place fifth in 1:13:15.


144Buze DiribaETH1:12:231:12:235:32
241Emily SissonUSA1:12:241:12:245:32
347Karoline Bjerkeli GrovdalNOR1:12:431:12:435:33
443Mamitu DaskaETH1:12:501:12:505:34
551Serena BurlaUSA1:13:151:13:155:36
656Askale MerachiETH1:13:291:13:295:37
745Betsy SainaKEN1:13:311:13:315:37
852Desiree LindenUSA1:13:331:13:335:37
954Madai PerezMEX1:13:401:13:405:38
1046Caroline RotichKEN1:13:581:13:585:39
1150Aliphine TuliamukUSA1:14:281:14:285:41
1259Roberta GronerUSA1:15:141:15:145:45
1358Dot McMahanUSA1:16:531:16:535:52
1461Grace KahuraKEN1:16:531:16:535:52
1560Taylor WardUSA1:17:121:17:125:54
1653Liz CostelloUSA1:17:221:17:225:55
1757Danna HerrickUSA1:17:311:17:315:55
1867Belaynesh FikaduETH1:19:131:19:136:03
1969Meseret Ali BasaETH1:20:081:20:086:07
2066Bose Gemeda AssefaETH1:20:491:20:496:10