Boston Marathon on a good day for US runners
BOSTON — The Kenyans are back in Boston after
a relative lull that saw them shut out in the world's
most prestigious marathon twice in the past three
years. More surprisingly, so
are the Americans.
Geoffrey Kirui won the
121st Boston Marathon on Monday, pulling away from
three-time U.S. Olympian Galen Rupp with two miles
to go to give Kenya its first men's victory in five
years. Edna Kiplagat won the women's race to complete
the Kenyan sweep.
They were followed closely
by Americans who grabbed two of the top four women's
spots and six of the top ten for men — the first
time that's happened since the race went professional
"It's so exciting
to see Americans being competitive here," said
Rupp, the Olympic bronze medallist who was making
his Boston debut. "It's a real exciting time.
And it's awesome to see American distance running
on the upswing and being competitive in these races."
Kirui finished in 2 hours,
9 minutes, 37 seconds to claim a silver trophy, a
guilded olive wreath from Marathon, Greece, and the
$150,000 first prize. Rupp was 21 seconds back, and
Japan's Suguru Osako 30 seconds behind him.
Rounding out the top
10 were runners from California, Arizona, Colorado,
Oregon and Utah.
running is looking good today," said sixth-place
finisher Abdi Abdirahman, a Somali immigrant and Tucson
resident who is a four-time Olympian. "We have
the podium for both men and women, so the future is
Kiplagat finished in
2:21:52 to win her Boston debut, adding the victory
to two world championships and wins in London, New
York and Los Angeles. She pulled ahead of Rose Chelimo
of Bahrain in the Newton hills to win by 59 seconds.
American Jordan Hasay,
making her first run at the 26.2-mile distance, was
third and Desi Linden was fourth — the first
time since 1991 that two U.S. women have finished
in the top four.
"It keeps happening.
We keep getting closer. We're putting more numbers
in there and it's just a matter of time," said
Linden, the 2011 runner-up by 2 seconds. "When
Americans break the tape, it's going to be a big deal
Kenya had won either
the men's or women's race every year since 1991 before
being shut out in 2014 and again last year. In fact,
Kenya had taken both titles six times since 2000,
so dominating the top 10 that Boylston Street began
to look like a Great Rift Valley training run.
But Ethiopia has surpassed
its East African neighbours on Patriots' Day the past
four years, earning its first sweep in 2016. Then,
in December, Kenyan Rita Jeptoo was stripped of her
2014 title for failing a drug test and it was handed
instead to Ethiopia's Buzunesh Deba.
For Kirui, even when
he was running shorter distances, he had his eye on
"In my mind, I was
sure that one day I would win this race," said
Kirui, 25, who was running just his third marathon.
"To come here to Boston, I knew I was going to
face my colleagues who have run many times here. ...
I knew I would challenge some of the champions who
have been competing here."
The American drought
reached more than three decades from the time Greg
Meyer won in 1983 until Meb Keflezighi ran down Boylston
Street to raucous chants of "U-S-A!" in
2014, the year after the finish line bombings killed
three people and wounded more than 260 others. (No
U.S. woman has won since 1985.)
Keflezighi, 41, said
he plans to enter the New York Marathon, which he
won in 2009, one last time in the fall before retiring.
In his last competitive Boston run, he finished 13th
in 2:17:00 despite pain in his quad muscles.
"The crowd got me
through the finish line," he said.
Also running on Monday
was Ben Beach, who completed the race for an unprecedented
50th time in a row. And Kathrine Switzer, wearing
the same bib number — 261 — that she wore
when she entered the all-male race 50 years ago, using
only her initials, K.V.
The warm temperatures
that hit 79 degrees at the 20-kilometre mark in Natick
slowed the runners, but the strong tailwind was a
boost — especially in the wheelchair races.
Marcel Hug won Boston
for the third time, outpushing 10-time champion Ernst
Van Dyk down Boylston Street and finishing in 1:18:04
to beat the course record and world best by 21 seconds.
Fellow Swiss Manuela Schar shattered the women's mark
by more than five minutes, winning in 1:28:17.
The winners' times on
the point-to-point Boston course are considered a
world best and not a world record because of the possibility
of a supportive tailwind like the one on Monday.
"The wind is so
important," Hug said. "The roads were good.
Everything was fantastic today."
Earlier Monday, city
officials announced plans for memorials to mark the
sites where two bombs exploded during the 2013 race.
Also in the field was
Boston Police Commissioner William Evans, who ran
for the 18th time in 2013 but has skipped the races
since the bombings so he could be available in case
of another emergency. Evans, who completed his 52nd
marathon overall, said he wanted to show that Boston
is back to normal.
"If I can come back,"
he said, "everyone can."