It’s now confirmed. Olympic champions, world record holders on different surfaces have been humbled at the Boston Marathon –the world’s oldest 42km run.
And Eliud Kipchoge, the two-time Olympic champion and world marathon record holder was no exception on Monday evening.
Competing in the 127th Boston Marathon and against the best lineup assembled in the American race, Kipchoge could not take the heat generated by relatively young but elite opponents.
Evans Chebet, who comes from Kondabilet Village in Uasin Gishu County, stood out on Boylston Street –the finish line –breezing the tape in 2:05.54, the third-fastest winning time in Boston history.
He is the first man to repeat as Boston champion since Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot (Mwafrika) in 2008, and he did so by defeating the greatest Boston field ever assembled. He has won six of his last seven marathons dating back to 2019. And he has now won three straight World Marathon Majors: 2022 Boston-2022 New York-2023 Boston.
Kipchoge, who usually crushes opponents over the final miles, simply could not respond once the racing got serious in the Newton Hills and faded to sixth in 2:09:23.
Kipchoge said: “I live for the moments where I get to challenge the limits. It’s never guaranteed, it’s never easy. Today was a tough day for me. I pushed myself as hard as I could but sometimes, we must accept that today wasn’t the day to push the barrier to a greater height.
“I want to congratulate my competitors and thank everyone in Boston and from home for the incredible support I am so humbled to receive. In sports, you win and you lose and there is always tomorrow to set a new challenge. Excited for what’s ahead.”
Analysts say Kipchoge had sufficient global pressure to perform but has never run in a course like Boston.
Kipchoge has competed in majorly flat courses like London, Berlin, Chicago, Hamburg and Tokyo.
Two-time World 5000m and one-time world cross country champion Helen Obiri pulled away from a star-studded pack of five women to win the 2023 Boston Marathon in 2:21:38.
Obiri, the 33 year-old Kenyan, who was the last elite athlete to enter the race only three weeks ago, clocked 2:21:38 in only her second marathon, a personal best, as she got the first big marathon win for the On Athletics Club and coach Dathan Ritzenhein.
Obiri said that having her daughter, Tania, and her husband, Tom Nyaundi, at the finish helped motivate her in the final kilometres.
“I say let me try to work hard because my daughter is here,” Obiri said.
She added: “Can I try to make them happy?” [Additional reporting by Agencies]