Justin Lagat sent this story from his home in Kenya. Justin covered both of the races for us, remotely, as Kenyans won both the men’s and women’s events.
In two intense and exciting finishes, Kenya’s Evans Chebet and Hellen Obiri made it a double victory for Kenyans at the 127th Boston Marathon.
Obiri -who was at first not convinced she would run well at the Boston Marathon but only came here after her coach encouraged her to go there and remain patient till the last stages of the race- turned the last 500m of the marathon into a middle-distance track race as she broke away from a group of four runners amid wild cheers from the crowds beside the finish stretch. She won it in 2:21:38 ahead of Ethiopia’s Amane Beriso, who finished a close second in 2:21:50 after trying hard to keep up with her in the closing stages. Lornah Salpeter of Israel finished third in 2:21:57.
On the other hand, Evans Chebet, after seeming concerned with his training mate, Benson Kipruto, finally decided to break away in the last kilometer of the race to secure the win in 2:05:54. Tanzania’s Gabriel Geay overtook Kipruto to take second place in 2:06:04 against Kipruto’s 2:06:06.
“It is my day. I trained very well. Benson is my friend and is like my brother. I told him to go with me at around 41K,” Chebet said at the finish line.
It was not a good day for the pre-race favorite, Eliud Kipchoge, as he finished sixth in 2:09:23.
The start of the race was fast. As the fans wondered how Kipchoge would run the race without the pacesetters, he literally became the pacesetter himself and controlled the fast pace leading the pack through the first 5K in 14:17, a pace that predicted a finish time of 2:00:28.
After the 10K was crossed at 28:52, the pace slowed down a little. But if there was any damage from the fast start, it was already done.
Eleven men crossed the half marathon point in 1:02:19. It was perhaps time the chase for the course record was forgotten and a plan to win the race implemented.
It was down to seven men at 25K. At 30K, Tanzania’s Geay made a surge. The leading pack disintegrated as Chebet and Kipruto went after him. For the first time, a sign of weakness is seen in Kipchoge.
Shortly after, Chebet broke away. But he kept looking back, urging his training mate, Kipruto, to close the gap. Geay came back into the lead again, and Chebet remained just behind him. Kipruto closed the gap again, then took the lead at around 40K. But, towards the end, Chebet knew it was time to leave his training mate behind and go for an individual title.
The women’s race had begun relatively slower, and a huge pack kept together until Beriso increased the pace after the 10K leaving a single file behind her. The pace slowed down a little again as they approached 20K, and about eleven women -the same number as men at that point- re-grouped.
In the last 2km, a quartet of Yeshane, Amane, Obiri, and Salpeter staged an interesting and tense fight for victory. The climax of the race was like a great 1500m race on the track.
2023 Boston Marathon, Top 10 Men, 1. Evans Chebet, Kenya, 2:05.54, 2. Gabriel Geay, TAN, 2:06.04, 3. Benson Kipruto, KEN, 2:06.06, 4. Albert Korir, KEN, 2:08.01, 5. Zouhair Talbi, MAR, 2:08.35, 6. Eliud Kipchoge, KEN, 2:09.23, 7. Scott Fauble, USA, 2:09.44, 8. Hassan Chahadi, FRA, 2:09.46, 9. John Korir, KEN, 2:10.04, 10. Matthew McDonald, USA, 2:10.17.
2023 Boston Marathon, Top 10 Men U.S., 1. Scott Fauble, USA, 2:09.44, 2. Matthew McDonald, USA, 2:10.17, 3. Conner Mantz, USA, 2:10.25, 4. CJ Albertson, USA, 2:10.33, 5. Nico Montanez, USA, 2:10.52, 6. J.P. Flavin, USA, 2:13.27, 7. Turner Wiley, USA, 2:13.57, 8. Chad Hall, USA, 2:14.13, 9. Colin Mickow, USA, 2:14.27, 10. Ben True, USA,
2023 Boston Marathon, Women’s top 10: 1. Hellen Obiri, Kenya (On Running), 2:21.38, 2. Amane Beriso, ETH, 2:21.50, 3. Lonah Salpeter, Isreal, 2:21.57, 4. Ababel Yeshaneh, ETH, 2:22.00, 5. Emma Bates, USA (ASICS), 2:22:10, 6. Nazret Weldu, ERI, 2:23.25, 7. Angela Tanui, KEN, 2:24.12, 8. Hiyot Gebremaryam, ETH, 2:24.30, 9. Mary Ngugi, KEN 2:24.33, 10. Goytom Gebreslase, ETH, 2:24.34.
Top Ten USA women: 1. Emma Bates, USA, 2:22.10, 2. Aliphine Tuliamuk, USA, 2:24.37, 3. Nell Rojas, USA, 2:24.51, 4. Sara Hall, 2:25.48, 5. Des Linden, USA, 2:27.18, 6. Annie Frisbie, USA, 2:28.45, 7. Sydney Devore, USA, 2:31.08, 8. Maggie Montoya, USA, 2;31.19, 9. Anne-Marie Blaney, USA, 2:31.32, 10. Maegen Krifchin, USA, 2:32.46.