Cape Town - Ernst van Dyk put a forgettable time in Tokyo behind him as he raced to a
historic fourth consecutive win at the New York City Half Marathon on Sunday.
Van Dyk was in Japan three weeks ago but
a stomach virus meant he wasn’t in tip-top shape and had to settle for
third spot at the Tokyo Marathon.
But New York saw a revamped Van Dyk lining up and he ended up cruising to a comfortable and historic fourth consecutive victory.
All of which augurs well as he continues to target an 11th Boston Marathon victory next month.
This year’s race presented a new challenge to the field with
organisers, the New York Road Runners club, opting for a new course.
‘After the disaster in Tokyo, I was looking forward to a good effort
from myself to really test my form. Conditions in NY are always very
challenging this time of year and this year was no exception,’ Van Dyk
told Team SA.
‘I had a good build-up with a very easy week training-wise to ensure I
was completely recovered. This year, the NYRR changed the course
completely and there was a lot of uncertainty about how tough it would
be with some serious climbing.’
New course aside, the weather conditions were also something to
contend with. ‘We started warm-up at 06:30 and by 07:00 the temperature
had dropped to -3 degrees Celsius and the wind had picked up quite a
bit, adding a severe chill factor.’
Making things more difficult was the fact that it was a tough
headwind for much of the race. ‘We took off and there is a slight
decline for the first three kilometres. I went hard because I needed
some distance between myself and the good climbers before we hit
Manhattan Bridge, which was going to be a steep unknown.’
Van Dyk managed to establish a decent lead over America’s Josh George and youngster Daniel
‘Josh and Daniel caught up to me as we were about to crest the hill. I
hit the downhill hard again and established a bit of a lead. From there
it was rolling hills but the wind was relentless. I just focused on my
own rhythm and tried to keep the pressure up.
‘My lead stayed consistent with Josh closing up a few seconds on me
on the longer, steeper climbs but then I would be able to surge on the
slight downhills again.
‘Through Times Square I could see him about 30 seconds behind me as we
entered Central Park. I’m comfortable in the park and it was the first
time in the race I could feel my hands!’ said Van Dyk.
‘With one kilometre to go, I knew I had it and was able to relax and
enjoy the moment as I was about to make history taking my fourth
consecutive victory. Now, over the next four weeks, I’ll centre my
training around the Boston Marathon and put everything towards that
elusive 11th victory in April.’
Van Dyk’s winning time was 53:12, 21 seconds clear of George with Romanchuk third in 55:04.