Drama in spades at Boston Marathon
Boston Marathon never fails to deliver drama in spades and yesterday's 123rd edition on Patriot's Day (Monday, 16 April) lived up to expectations. Boston debutant Lawrence Cherono (Kenya) won in the closest finish since 1988 to deny Lelisa Desisa (Ethiopia) a third victory and Worknesh Degefa (Ethiopia) took her first ever World Marathon Majors success in the women's race.
The heavy rain and winds forecast did not materialise and conditions were reasonable at the start for 30,000 competitors in Hopkington. The early stages caused massive excitement for USA fans as Dathan Ritzenhein, Scott Fauble and Jared Ward led for the first 10 miles.
Defending champion Yuki Kawauchi (Japan) was 30 seconds behind the lead pack as halfway came up in 1:04:28. The American trio were to continue to play a leading role but as the race reached the serious business end it came down to a thrilling sprint won by Cherono (2:07:57) from Desisa (2:07:59) after the pair briefly clashed together on the Boylston Street finish.
Three Kenyans finished next: Kenneth Kipkemoi (2:08:07), Felix Kandie (2:08:54) and 2017 champion and 2018 runner-up Geoffrey Kirui (2:08:55). With Olympic team places in mind, it was a big day for USA hopefuls Scott Fauble (2:09:10) and Jared Ward (2:09:25) with top 10 finishes.
Worknesh Degefa (2:23:31) was a more predictable women's champion ahead of Kenya's Edna Kiplagat (2:24:13) but it was third-placed Jordan Hasay (USA, 2:25:20) who won the domestic battle with defending champion Des Linden (2:27:00).
Perhaps the biggest cheer was reserved for Boston legend Joan Benoit Samuelson (3:04:00) who returned 40 years after winning her first Boston Marathon title in 1979 (2:35:15). Benoit Samuelson also won in 1983 (2:22:43 – world record) before winning her Olympic gold in Los Angeles 1984 (2:24:52 – Olympic record). Benoit Samuelson's time is the third fastest ever recorded by a W60 master.
Always popular with British athletes, the leading runners from this side of the pond were Scott Overall, of Blackheath and Bromley Harriers (23rd, 2:17:37) and W40 Alyson Dixon, of Sunderland Strollers (16th, 2:35:43).
Link to results via runABC South race listing here
Image courtesy Boston Marathon on Twitter