WELL PACED: New York City Marathon winner Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya, centre, holds up his award as he stands on the podium with second-placed Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia, left, and third-placed South Africa Lusapho April. Picture: REUTERS

LUSAPHO April produced a gutsy performance to finish a well-paced third in the New York City Marathon on Sunday.

April sat back in the lead group for most of the 42km race before starting to make his mark as he moved up the outside of the eight-man pack with 12km left.

He attempted to chase runaway Kenyans Geoffrey Mutai and Stanley Biwott with less than 10km remaining, after the duo surged clear, and while he was unable to stick with them, he shook off the rest of the field to find himself alone in third place.

The 31-year-old South African was caught by Ethiopian Tsegaye Kebede approaching the finish but April coasted past a fading Biwott to retain his podium place.

Mutai was more than three minutes outside his own course record but won comfortably in 2:08.24. Kebede charged through for second place in 2:09.15, and April was 73 seconds outside his personal best, crossing the line in 2:09.45.

Meanwhile, veteran South African wheelchair racer Ernst van Dyk finished second in a tight sprint finish in 1:40.14.

Van Dyk clocked the same time as Swiss winner Marcel Hug after a battle between five athletes down the finishing straight.

It was the fourth time this year that Van Dyk had finished in the top three at a major city marathon.

He also finished on the podium at the Boston, London and Chicago marathons this season.

Sapa