NEW YORK — Salvador Garcia got none of the pre-race attention yet won the New York City Marathon. Liz McColgan got most of the women's hype--primarily her own--and fulfilled her promise by winning the women's division in record time.
Garcia, a sergeant in the Mexican army who wasn't invited to any of the press conferences for elite runners, led a 1-2 Mexican finish Sunday, as the favorites continually dropped out of contention.
His time of 2 hours 9 minutes 28 seconds was the sixth-fastest in the race's 22-year history, but the manner in which he won was methodical more than spectacular.
McColgan backed up her boast of victory in her first marathon, and her time of 2:27:23 shattered the record of 2:30:37 for a first-time marathoner set by Sylvia Ruegger of Canada at Ottawa in 1984.
"I will run a pace that's very comfortable to me," McColgan had said. "I am very confident. With my ability, I feel I can win."
McColgan, accustomed to running 5,000 and 10,000 meters at very fast paces, showed remarkable restraint, staying at the front of the pack before making her break between 22 and 23 miles.
"I planned for my first marathon," she said. "My plan was to win. I have enough confidence to beat anyone."
McColgan, from Scotland, was challenged when little-known Olga Markova of the Soviet Union came alongside between miles 22 and 23, but McColgan repulsed her easily and won by nearly a minute.
Markova, who was third in this year's Los Angeles Marathon in 2:33:27, ran a personal best in finishing second Sunday in 2:28:18.
Joan Benoit Samuelson, sentimental favorite of the crowd and race director Fred Lebow, could do no better than sixth in 2:33:48.
Samuelson, the 1984 Olympic gold medalist, ran with the leaders early but dehydrated and fell back. She was treated for about 1 1/2 hours and given five intravenous bags.
"I basically hit the wall," Samuelson, 34, said. "I felt good and then all of a sudden--boom! Because I was so dehydrated, my asthma kicked. The muscles started tightening."
Garcia, 31, the runner-up in last year's race, broke away between the 17th and 18th miles with a blistering mile time of 4:26.
His time was the fastest of his career.
Andres Espinoza, 28, who never had broken 2:14 in a marathon, came in second, in 2:10:00.
Ibrahim Hussein of Kenya, among the race favorites and the 1987 New York City Marathon champion, was not in contention after Garcia made his big break and wound up third in 2:11:07.