Kiplagat Takes 121rst Boston Marathon Title, by Carolyn Mather/Running Journal


Kiplagat_Edna-BostonM17.jpgEdna Kiplagat, photo by

The women's race in Boston in 2017 was quite satisfying on several levels. Edna Kiplagat is one of the most enduring marathoners in our sport, and her show of strength, savvy and tactics was a great model for veteran marathoners. On the other side, Jordan Hasay, the debutante marathoner, just blew through expectations. And Desi Linden, who ran with one goal, to win, gave it her all, and took fourth. Here's Carolyn Mather's feature on the women's race from the 121rst Boston Marathon.

Kiplagat Takes 121st Boston Marathon Title

Race day dawned bright and warm with temperatures hovering near 70 degrees.The field was extremely competitive with the defending champion and several Olympians in the mix.The first mile started out at 5:55 and third place debutante, 25 year old Jordan Hasay stated after the race that she felt very comfortable with the slow start. Jordan was racing her first Boston and first marathon and was a bit unsure what to expect despite all of her training and wins of the past six months. She had had some difficulty learning to hydrate on the run and this would be an important component of today's race. By 5K (17:45) both Jordan and Desi Linden were keeping their special fluid bottles to drink every drop while others took a sip and threw their bottles down. Jordan and Desi continued throughout the race to cover themnselves in water and consume every bit of their special fluids.

A fairly large pack stayed together alternating the lead throughout the miles.Eleven women remained in the pack through 15K (51:54). Included in the mix were (2016 Boston winner) Atsede Baysa, Gladys Cherono (2015 Berlin champion in 2:19:25, 2014 Boston champion in 2:19:59, Edna Kiplagat with a PR of 2:19:50, (second place in the 2012 London Marathon),Valentine Kipketer with a best 2:23:02 (Amsterdam in 2013) ,two-time Olympian Desiree Linden who entered as a favorite with a 2:22:38 PB (second place finish in Boston 2011) and Jordan Hasay, the high school phenom now grown into success on the roads running Boston as her debut marathon.

Hasay came to Boston with a string of victories including three national championships (twin Cities 10 Mile, Houston Half and the Gate River Run 15K) and a 1:07:55 Half Marathon three weeks ago in Prague. Hasay lost her Mom in November and is running with her spirit at her side.

The race continued and Linden took the lead at 5 miles. She knows she is not a speedster at the end but more of a steady and controlled marathoner. She decided it was time to up the pace a bit and see who would drop back. At mile 9 she took a full bottle of water and dumped it on her head. The runners were feeling the heat.Her tactic reduced the pack from eleven to ten to eight.

At 20K, both Hasay and Linden snagged their special fluid bottles and held onto them for over three minutes taking small sips until they were finished.The rest of the ladies grabbed their special bottles then after a drink dropped them.Seven women passed the halfway point in 1:12:33. Linden fell off the pack at between 25K and 30K. Five ladies remained in contention when Valentine Kipketer and Buzenesh Deba fell back leaving Kiplagat, Chelimo and Hasay in the hunt.

Although Kiplagat, mother of two told us at the pre-race press conference that she would not make a move until 5K to go, she changed her mind and put on a surge shortly after that could not be covered. Later Hasay stated that she knew she had no idea what would happen so rather than go with Kiplagat she decided to get her cadence back and settle into her pace.

Kiplagat quickly extended her lead to 34 seconds then 48 seconds then over a minute. She was totally clear of the field throwing in miles of 5:22, 5:02, 5:22, 5:02, 5:11, 5:03 and 5:17 over the last seven miles. That is not a pace that anyone could make up. In fact she ran one of her last six miles faster than the men and all by herself!! Today was Kiplagat's day as two of her five her children greeted her at the finish. I had seen her doing Easter with her children the day before the race and they were all having so much fun. It was a celebratory weekend. Kiplagat took the tape in 2:21:52.

Rose Chelimo finished second (2:22:51) holding off a closing Hasay. Hasay smashed the American debut record of Kara Goucher by nearly three minutes. Her 2:23 flat was incredible and she was jumping around the finish area hugging her coach, Alberto Salazar and then, her Dad Joe. She wore her Mom's engagement ring on her left hand so as she reached for her special fluids every 5K, she had her Mom's help securing each bottle. She ran with her Mom in her heart every step of the way.

Hasay's coach Alberto Salazar had a very successful day as he had Galen Rupp and Suguru Osako finishing second and third in the men's field. Three podium finishes for Salazar is a great day for the coach. He was very happy with the result. Two American women finished in the top five as Linden rallied for fourth place (2:25:06) and six men broke into the top ten. After Rupp in 2:09:58, Shadrock Bowot was 4th, Abdi Abdirahman 6th, Augustus Maiyo 7th, Luke Puskedra 9th and Jared Ward 10th. Many congrats to everyone who finished the 121st Boston Marathon.

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