Kenyans Sweep 121st Boston Marathon

the winners

By Taylor Raglin
BU News Service

A pair of Kenyans broke the ribbons in the men’s and women’s elite fields in the 121st running of the Boston Marathon: Edna Kiplagat took home the title for the women with an unofficial time of 2 hours, 21 minutes and 53 seconds, while Geoffrey Kirui paced the men with an unofficial time of 2 hours, 9 minutes and 37 seconds.

Both Kiplagat and Kirui were making their Boston Marathon debuts.

Kiplagat finished ahead of Rose Chelimo of Bahrain and another runner making her Boston debut, Jordan Hasay. Hasay, with an unofficial time of 2 hours, 22 minutes and 51 seconds, set the record for the fastest debut by an American woman.

Kiplagat has now won the Boston Marathon, the London Marathon and the New York City Marathon.

In the men’s competition, American Galen Rupp, a bronze medalist in the Rio Olympics, took second with an unofficial time of 2 hours, 9 minutes and 58 seconds.

History was made in both the men’s and women’s wheelchair divisions, as Switzerland’s Marcel Hug and Manuela Schar each snapped course records in their respective divisions. Hug crossed the finish line with an unofficial time of 1 hour, 18 minutes and 4 seconds to take the men’s crown, while Schar came across in 1 hour, 28 minutes and 16 seconds to hoist the women’s trophy.

Tailwinds expected to help runners were indeed out in force Monday, though temperatures were warm enough to play a role in the race’s outcome. The heat prevented the kind of eye-popping times produced in the 2011 race, when strong tailwinds and cool weather produced the current men’s record (2 hours, 3 minutes and 2 seconds, run by Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya).

After a back-and-forth saga with the Boston Athletic Association, handcyclists were ensured better treatment at the annual marathon beginning in 2018. According to WBUR, the changes will include “more recognition of the winners in the handcyclists race, increasing accommodations, and adding spots for handcyclists racers in 2018.”

This year, 30 handcyclists participated in the marathon, the most to ever race.

Additional controversy prior to the race came in the form of 15 competitors being disqualified for cheating their way into the field. According to Runner’s World, the competitors were barred from competing after 46-year-old Derek Murphy identified their foul play.

Crowd favorite and 2014 champion Meb Keflezighi, in his last Boston Marathon and 25th marathon overall, finished in just over 2 hours and 17 minutes. Keflezighi is best known for that emotional 2014 victory, which came on the heels of the 2013 bombings and was the first victory by an American runner in more than three decades.