Benson Kipruto and Diana Chemtai Kipyogei ensured a Kenyan double atop the Boston marathon podium, as bold runs for home were rewarded with 2021 glory. In a captivating race for the neutral, both races featured high drama without ever chasing fast times. In an era of pace-maked processions this was marathon running at its enthralling best.
Kipruto with one of the fastest closes in history.
The men’s race featured a surprise leader thanks to the USA’s CJ Albertson. Albertson, who ran 2.42.30 over 50k on the track in November for a world best, came to Boston with a 2.11.18 personal best over the marathon. With a lead of almost one minute by 5k (14.29), one minute 37 seconds by 10k (29:32) and over two minutes through the half (64:08) Albertson was slowly reeled in by a huge chasing pack. The twenty-eight-year old caught past the twenty mile mark.
And it was from here that the race really came alive as sixteen men were within five seconds of the lead through 35k. Benson Kipruto was the man to make the move with a ludicrous 14:06 split from 35-40k. It was enough for a 37 second lead. Though the gap would not significantly lengthen Kipruto continued to close hard with a massive negative split for the win in 2.09.51 (66:21/63:30).
Kipruto’s win, whilst the biggest of his career comes after an impressive win in Prague earlier this year. It is his first major marathon honour.Embed from Getty Images
Behind Kipruto, Lemi Birhanu Hayle and Jemal Yimer battled it out for second place with the 2016 winner Lemi Birhanu Hayle winning the sprint in 2.10.37 (Yimer was one second behind).
Colin Bennie ran a smart race for seventh and first USA athlete home in 2.11.26 with CJ Albertson rallying to 2.11.44 for a highly creditable tenth.
Kipyogei is rewarded for bold bid for Boston glory
In contrast to the men’s race, the women’s race was tactical until the 25k mark where Diana Chemtai Kipyogei made her move. A pack of thirteen featuring all the pre-race favourites was splintered as the Istanbul Marathon winner built a ten second lead through 30k. Behind her one group of six and a second five seconds adrift.
Half-marathon star Netsanet Gudeta deemed Kipyogei’s move too dangerous to let go, slowly reducing the arrears until the two shared the lead past 35k, a three strong group of Ngugi, Kiplagat and Ngige thirty seconds behind.
Gudeta’s move to close the gap slowly proved the Ethiopian’s downfall as Kipyogei pulled away once more with now Edna Kiplagat her closest challenger 27 seconds back at 40k. For a few fleeting seconds Kiplagat’s dash for home looked like it may provide one of the most epic finishes in Boston history but as the excitement amped up Kipyogei held firm, running a huge negative split for the win (74:11/70:34).Embed from Getty Images
Kipyogei’s first marathon major win in 2.24.45 was 24 seconds ahead of Kiplagat with Mary Ngugi a highly impressive third (2.25.20). Ngige finished fourth (2.25.32) with Gudeta suffering for fifth (2.26.09). Like Kipruto, Kipyogei is an athlete in form having won in Istanbul in 2020.
Nell Rojas was the first USA athlete home in 2.27.12 for sixth.
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Featured image “the men’s lead pack on heartbreak hill boston marathon 2015” by Rob React is licensed under CC BY 2.0