Marathon: A Course of His Own

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Outside Magazine, February 1995

Marathon: A Course of His Own
By Todd Balf (with Martin Dugard)

Visitors get lost in New York every day. On November 6 it was German Silva’s turn. Unfortunately, the 26-year-old runner from Mexico was leading the New York Marathon at the time, only 0.8 mile from the finish — and a new Mercedes Benz plus $20,000 in prize money. The confusion came as he and countryman Benjamin Paredes, having dropped the pack, ran west on Central Park South.
Seeing several official race vehicles turn right into the park, Silva mistakenly followed for 25 yards. Paredes paused and then, realizing his opportunity, goosed it. “I saw the faces, and I knew I made a mistake,” said Silva afterward, referring to the anguished onlookers. “I didn’t have to ask anybody.” Silva turned on his heels, shifted up a gear, and closed the gap rapidly. At
the 26-mile mark the former Olympian caught and passed Paredes, ultimately finishing in 2:11:21 to win by two seconds, the closest and arguably weirdest conclusion in New York Marathon history.

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