Kenya enjoyed double success at the Boston Marathon on Monday as Evans Chebet held off two past champions to win the men’s crown and reigning Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir captured the women’s title.
Chebet won in two hours six minutes and 51 seconds to top the first all-Kenyan podium since 2012, beating 2019 Boston winner Lawrence Cherono by 30 seconds with defending champion Benson Kipruto third in 2:07:27.
This was a first major marathon victory for Chebet, 33, who was fourth in last year’s London Marathon.
A lead pack of about 20 men reached the halfway mark together and 15 remained tight at the front through 21 miles.
Chebet made his move just after that, but Cherono and Kipruto kept the pressure on him into the final stretch.
Jepchirchir, last year’s New York Marathon champion, won her Boston debut by edging Ethiopia’s Ababel Yeshaneh in the final strides, as the 28-year-old took her fifth victory in a row since 2019 in 2:21:01.
That was good enough to defeat Yeshaneh, a 2019 Chicago runner-up and former world half-marathon record holder, by four seconds with Kenya’s Mary Ngugi third in 2:21:32.
As they battled into the final mile, a weary-looking Jepchirchir made three attempts to pass, but Yeshaneh countered each. The Kenyan made her final move down the stretch and surged past in the last 100 meters.
“When I arrived to 41km, I knew was going to win the race,” Jepchirchir said.
“I was just keeping the energy for the finishing. Ababel was so strong. For me, it was just keeping my energy for the finishing kick.
Former Boston, London and New York champion Edna Kiplagat of Kenya was fourth while 2021 London winner Joyciline Jepkosgei of Kenya was seventh.
A full field of 30,000 competitors took part with Covid-19 vaccinations required for entry into the event. –BBC