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Kenya’s Edna Kiplagat leads big field in Boston today

ATHLETICS By Jonathan Komen | October 11th 2021
Edna Kiplagat, of Kenya, wins the women's division of the 121st Boston Marathon on Monday, April 17, 2017, in Boston. (AP)

Kenya’s Edna Kiplagat and Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa are among the former champions returning to race at the Boston Marathon today as the World Athletics Elite Platinum Label road race makes a comeback after 910 days.

Following cancellation and postponement due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this year’s race – the 125th edition – will be the first held outside of its traditional Patriots’ Day date in April.

Deep fields have been announced, with 13 women boasting sub-2:23 PBs and 12 men with personal bests under 2:07 on the start lists. Leading those lists are two-time world champion Kiplagat with her 2012 PB of 2:19:50 and Ethiopia’s Asefa Mengstu, who ran 2:04:06 in Dubai in 2018.

Kiplagat’s Boston victory came in 2017 and the 41-year-old was runner-up to Worknesh Degefa two years later. She went on to finish fourth in that year’s World Athletics Championships in Doha, which was her last marathon, and her results so far this year include a 32:20 10km in June.

With a PB just two seconds slower is Ethiopia’s Mare Dibaba, the 2015 world champion who clocked 2:19:52 in Dubai in 2012 and finished second in her last marathon, in Berlin in 2019.

Kenya’s Angela Tanui, meanwhile, has more recent marathon results to her name having raced, and won, twice over 26.2 miles in 2021, with her PB of 2:20:08 set in Siena in April.

Joining Kiplagat in returning to the race as a former champion are the USA’s 2018 winner Desiree Linden, who drops back down in distance after breaking the world 50km best with 2:59:54 in Oregon in April, plus Kenya’s 2015 winner Caroline Rotich and Ethiopia’s 2016 champion Atsede Baysa.

Like Kiplagat, Dibaba and Tanui, Ethiopia’s Workenesh Edesa and Sutume Kebede, plus the USA’s Jordan Hasay – twice a third place finisher in Boston – have PBs under 2:21, while Ethiopia’s Netsanet Gudeta will also be looking to make an impact. The last time Gudeta completed a marathon was 2017, when she ran her PB of 2:29:15, but since then she has won the 2018 world half marathon title – clocking a then women-only world record of 1:06:11, and she improved her PB for that distance to 1:05:45 in Ras Al Khaimah the following year.

Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa will be main threat in men race [photo courtesy]

Former world 5km record-holder Caroline Chepkoech, who has a half-marathon PB of 1:05:07 from 2018, makes her marathon debut.

In the men’s race, world champion Desisa will be going for a hat-trick in Boston after his wins in 2013 and 2015. He returns to the race for the seventh time, having also claimed two runner-up finishes, in 2016 and 2019.

Kenya’s Geoffrey Kirui – who won world and Boston titles in 2017– is among the entries and he is also returning after a DNF at the 2020 Valencia Marathon.

He is joined by fellow Kenyans Benson Kipruto and Filex Kiprotich, who ran their respective PBs of 2:05:13 and 2:05:33 in 2019, plus Wilson Chebet, who has achieved four top five finishes in Boston, including a runner-up finish from 2014.

Five-time Olympian Abdi Abdirahman and Scott Fauble lead the US men’s entries.

Another debutant is Kenya’s Leonard Barsoton, the 2017 world cross country silver medallist.

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