A view from the Bronx: The 2011 New York City marathon

2011 New York City Marathon

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With their running shoes ready and their energy in high gear, this year’s 47,000 plus New York City marathoners gathered last Sunday in Staten Island for the 41st time that the race has been held.

In South Bronx, home to a number of top African competitive runners, local residents lined up the intersection of 3rd Avenue and 138th Street, near the 20-mile marker, to cheer on the runners.

Students from the Bronx Preparatory Charter School had their chants and pink pompoms in place. Nearby volunteers from the Seventh Day Adventist congregation distributed energy drinks in their white and orange jumpsuits. On the other side of the street, Latin music fused with Katy Perry’s, “California Gurls” blasted next to St. Jerome’s Catholic Church. The Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center set up a makeshift stage and a banner that read, “Go, Buzunesh Deba, Go.” Deba was the marathon champion from Ethiopia who has been living in the Bronx for six years.

As the runners crossed the 20th-mile maker in the Bronx, Deba and her compatriot, Ferihiwot Dado, were both running behind Mary Keitany, the early race leader. That dampened some of the excitement in the crowd. But both runners eventually overtook Keitany. Dado won 2:23:15, four seconds ahead of the favorite, Deba.

On the men’s side, Kenyan Geoffrey Mutai ran alongside a pack of seven African runners trying to outpace each other.

Only a sliver of the 26.2 mile race cut through the Bronx, even though it is home to the race’s top runners. Still, Bronxites made sure the runners felt welcome.

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