Robert Cheruiyot (same name, different dude) Wins 114th BAA Boston Marathon: How the Race Was Won, by Larry Eder

Thumbnail image for Cheruiyot_RobertFHR_Bos34E.jpg.jpeg
Robert Cheruiyot, 2010 BAA Boston Marathon winner, photo by PhotoRun.net.

Pat Lynch, the man who has orchestrated the elite fields BAA Boston from 1986 to now, from Rob de Castella's win in 1986 to Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot, was actually animated today! One
observer came up to me and said, " Hey, Pat is really excited about this!"

The focus of Mr. Lynch's excitement? That the 2010 BAA Boston Marathon men's race is the world best for a marathon without pacemakers! Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot has the same name as Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot, the four time winner here, but a different dude! This RC just improved his course PB by four plus minutes (this Robert also has a 2:06:23 for second from October 2009 under his belt).

Here is how the race played out:

Well, this race was a fascinating one to watch and my head is still shaking over the surges,
the drama, the cheering, the waving, and that was just Ryan Hall going through Wellesley! Actually, sportsfans, this was a race for the ages!

Ryan Hall lead the field, as they hit the mile in 4:52, followed by mile two and mile three in 4:48, hitting the 5 kilometers in 14:58. Hall was leading a cornucopia of the world's best: Deriba Merga, the defending champ, Tekeste Kebede of Ethiopia, Ryan Hall, Meb Keflezighi, 2009 ING NYCM winner, Moses Kigen Kipkosgei, Elijah Keitany, Alejandro Vega of the U.S., Gashaw Asfaw, Jason Lemkuhle, Josh Rohatinsky in his debut and Abderrahim Goumri, the fastest man in the field over 5k, 10k, and a 2:06:04 marathoner.

Ryan Hall had told the assembled media a week ago, " I want to have fun when I run." Well if fun is described as doing a speed workout for the first ten miles, then so be it. Meb Keflezighi, on the other hand, admitted to being a bit banged up, "about 90 percent", but he was in the pack, watching every move.

The pack hit 10k in 30:06, pretty good pace (about 2:07 and change). Merga and Robert Cheruiyot, who the TV announcers wanted to make sure we knew was not THE ROBERT Kipkoech Cheruiyot, four time winner, was looking good.

Hall was up there leading away, as the announcers were wondering what the heck the golden boy from Bear Lake, California was doing!

Robert Cheruiyot took the lead between 10 and 15k, running 14:50 the fastest of the race. It was also at this time, that Ryan Hall went from first to tenth, and 11 seconds back, in the time it takes to say, Al Troutwig (one of the TV announcers). Moses Kigen Kipkosgei, David Mandago, Elijah Keitany, Deriba Merga were all there, and so was the savvy Meb Keflezighi.
What had happened to Ryan Hall?

After the pack hit 15k in 44:58, and Ryan seem to falter, the pace slowed down and at 20k, Ryan was leading once again! Ryan hit the 20k mark in 60:11, with Deriba Meriga, David Mandago, Meb, and Abderhaman Goumri  in the pack. Jason Lemkuhle was twenty seconds back.

Ryan was still leading at the halfway point, in 1:03:27, with a pack of ten. But, just as fast as he was up front, Ryan was back again. Robert Cheruiyot put down the pedal, and along with Tekeste Kebede and Deriba Merga, ran 14:46 for the 5k between 20 and 25k, hitting the 25k in 1:14:58. Meb was one second back, Ryan Hall was sixteen seconds back.

Cheruiyot and Merga were not letting up, running 15:00 for the next 5 kilometers, hitting the 30k in 1:29:58. Tekeste Kebede was in third in 1:30:05, Meb Keflezighi was at 1:30:20, and Ryan Hall was in seventh in 1:30:55.

The race was between Merga and Cheruiyot, as Merga tried to break Robert Cheruiyot. How hard were they running? Well, between 30 and 35 k, Merga and Cheruiyot ran 14:44 for the 5k split and put 33 seconds on Kebede, and 78 on Meb Keflezighi, with Ryan Hall back 1:45! Merga, the defending champ and Robert Cheruiyot were on a 2:06:13 pace, and it was, a real match!

Robert Cheruiyot, who looked to be the weaker of the two, dropped a 4:38 mile in the 35-40 kilometers, and hit 40k in 1:59:21, putting 64 seconds between himself and Merga in less than two miles. Tekeste Kebede was holding on, twelve seconds behind Merga.

Ryan Hall, who had been having some issues, or so it looked, at 35 kilometers, passed Meb Keflezighi, who was running one one leg (a sore knee was hampering him), put nine seconds on Meb in about a mile. " I went buy and rubbed Meb's head as I went by" noted Ryan Hall afterwards, " I gave him a swigglie (rubbing his head)."

Hall continued to make up real estate, as he cut the distance between himself and Merga, who had dropped to third.

Today was Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot day. Robert dropped a 4:38 in mile 24, and ran unopposed to the finish, setting a new course record in 2:05:52! Tekeste Kebede of Ethiopia was second in a fine 2:07:23. Deriba Merga, the defending champ, held on by two seconds over Ryan Hall, keeping third in 2:08:39. Ryan Hall became the fastest American on the course EVER (surpassing Robert Kempainen from 94, who ran 2:08:47), running a fine 2:08:41. Meb Keflezighi stayed in fifth, just missing his personal best, running a fine 2:09:26!

In sixth, Gashaw Asfaw ran 2:10:53. In seventh, John Komen of Kenya ran 2:11:48, and in eighth was Moses Kigen Kipkosgei, who ran 2:12:04. Jason Lemkuhle of the US made it three
Americans in top ten, running a pb by thirty seconds with his 2:12:24. And in tenth, Alejandro Suarez of Mexico ran 2:12:33! Right outside of top ten was Alejandro Vega, of the US, who ran 2:13:47.

The best comments were from Robert Cheruiyot, who said, " I wanted to improve on 2:10 today on Boston (he was fifth here in 2009)." When asked if he was going to buy some cows after the race, with his winnings, Robert took a moment, and said, " Yes , I will buy some cows."

Amby Burfoot, the 1968 winner, and RW former editor gets award for best follow up question, with Ryan Hall, where he asked Ryan if HE would be purchasing any cows after the race. Ryan noted that he probably would not.

The race? A race for the ages! Robert Cheruiyot showed that Boston once again, is a race to remember!

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