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Kenya's Mutai shatters course record at NYC Marathon

According to the Associated Press, Geoffrey Mutai finished in 2 hours, 5 minutes, 6 seconds, crushing the previous mark of 2:07:43 set by Tesfaye Jifar of Ethiopia a decade earlier.

The 30-year-old has established himself as the favorite at next summer's Olympics after two landmark performances this year.

In April, he ran the fastest 26.2 miles in history: 2:03:02 in Boston. It didn't count as a world record because the course is considered too straight and too downhill. Read more...

Craig Ruttle / AP

Geoffrey Mutai, of Kenya, runs along 5th Avenue in the Manhattan borough of New York on his way to winning with a course record in the men's division at the New York City Marathon on Nov. 6.

Firehiwot Dado wasn't a favorite coming into the women's race and victory seemed impossible with even a few miles left. But the Ethiopian made a stunning comeback for her first major marathon title.

Justin Lane / EPA

Firehiwot Dado of Ethiopia celebrates after she won the 2011 New York City marathon.

The marathon's official web site says that the first-ever New York City Marathon was a humble affair. In 1970, 127 runners paid the $1 entry fee to NYRR to participate in a 26.2-mile race that looped several times within Central Park. Fifty-five runners crossed the finish line. In 2010, there were more than 47,000 finishers, the most ever.

Several men's and women's records fell in the early years, but the New York race was soon about more than speed. When international sanctions against South African athletes were lifted in 1992, Willie Mtolo chose to run New York. He bested the field and garnered media coverage around the world. When Tegla Loroupe broke the tape at the Central Park finish in 1994, her win proved that African women were on par with the African men in their ability to run the 26.2-mile distance. She did it in New York, and the world took notice. Soon Kenyan women were invited to other major distance races.

Chris Trotman / Getty Images

Runners cross the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge towards Brooklyn at the start of the ING New York City Marathon as seen from the air on Nov. 6.

In 2000, NYRR added an official wheelchair division to the marathon. Now the ING New York City Marathon has grown to become one of the most competitive wheelchair marathons anywhere in the world, with more than 200 wheelchair and handcycle athletes. In addition, a wide variety of ambulatory athletes with disabilities participate.

Jason DeCrow / AP

A wheelchair racer crosses the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge at the start of the New York City Marathon, Nov. 6.

 Masazumi Soejima of Japan won this year's men's wheelchair division with a time of 01:31:41, and Amanda McGrory of the US won the women's wheelchair division in 01:50:25.

Timothy A. Clary / AFP - Getty Images

Runners as they make their way up 1st Avenue in Manhattan during the 2011 ING New York City Marathon Nov. 6. The 26.2 mile marathon course is through the five bouroughs of New York City and is one of the largest in the world.