The 126th men’s Boston Marathon field presents a heavyweight title fight on April 18.
It’s Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele, the world’s fastest marathoner in history versus a legion of Kenya’s marathon stars.
They include Geoffrey Kamworor, the three-time world half marathon champion and two-time world cross country winner as well as two-time New York City Marathon winner.
Such an impressive CV should resonate well with the point-to-point Boston Marathon course, which has three turns.
Last year, Kamworor picked up a stress fracture in his foot that ruled him out of the Olympic Games and it meant that his buildup for December’s Valencia Marathon was too limited.
It’s a testament to Kamworor’s talent and toughness that he still ran a personal best of 2:05 in Valencia Marathon but with the squad lined up for Boston, he will need to be fit and at his best to win on Boylston Street.
Throw in the fastest marathoners in the world from 2021 (Titus Ekiru 2:02:57) and 2020 (Evans Chebet 2:03:00), defending Boston champion Benson Kipruto, New York Marathon champion Albert Korir and Lawrence Cherono and the 2022 Boston Marathon showdown will be a dogfight.
Bekele’s performances in the last two years have been on average. The 39-year-old posted 2:06:47 to finish at the Berlin Marathon before finishing sixth in New York Marathon in 2:12:52.
He will be up against some of the new talents. Seven of the past eight winners will also return to Boston including 2021 champion Benson Kipruto. Lawrence Cherono (2019), Yuki Kawauchi (2018), Geoffrey Kirui (2017), Lemi Berhanu (2016) and Lelisa Desisa (2015 and 2013) are the other six former winners.
And then there are two athletes still hunting for their first World Marathon Major win. Titus Ekiru was the world leader in 2021, running 2:02:57 (fifth fastest time in history) in Milan. He dropped out of London in October but his marathon record when he finishes is impeccable: seven wins out of eight. Notably, two of those wins came in Honolulu – a hilly course that must have prepared him well for Boston.