Runners to watch during the 126th Boston Marathon

The men's runners waiting for the start signal at 8:37 a.m. during the 125th Boston Marathon (Photo by Pietro Rossini/BU News Service)

By Rusty Gorelick
Boston University News Service

The saying goes, “life is a marathon, not a sprint.” But to the average Boston Marathon spectator, it looks like professional runners ignore that advice.

The course record, set by Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya in 2011, is 2:03:02. Recent times indicate that the best runners will cross the finish line just over two hours after the marathon begins.

Meet six of the runners—three men and three women—who will dash from Hopkinton, Mass., to Boston on Monday, April 18.


CJ Albertson

As one of the most-hyped American men ahead of the marathon, Albertson will look to improve upon last year’s performance. The 28-year-old led the pack for about 20 miles but finished in 10th place, finishing with a 2:11:44 time. He won his first two competitive marathons, according to World Athletics: the 2019 Modesto Marathon in Modesto, Calif., and the 2019 Two Cities Marathon in Fresno, Calif.

Geoffrey Kamworor

Kamworor won the 2017 and 2019 New York Marathons, but he has yet to finish on the podium in Boston. The 29-year-old missed six months of action from June 2020 to January 2021 after he was hit by a motorcycle, resulting in injuries that required surgery. The fact he could not compete for Kenya in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics—held in the summer of 2021 because of COVID-19—due to an ankle injury will provide further motivation. Another addition to his resume: Eliud Kipchoge, 2020 Olympic gold medalist and the only man to run 26.2 miles in under two hours, said Kamworor would “surpass what [Kipchoge has] done in the sport.”

Benson Kipruto

The 2021 Boston Marathon winner is back in search of a repeat performance. Kipruto, a 31-year-old from Kenya, also won the 2021 Prague Marathon and the 2018 Toronto Marathon. Little else is known about him. What appears to be his official Instagram account is unverified and has 754 followers. The verified Boston Athletic Association account commented on his January 13, 2022 post announcing his intention to run the Boston Marathon.


Peres Jepchirchir

After winning the gold medal in the 2020 Olympics marathon event and winning the 2021 New York Marathon, Jepchirchir might have the most momentum of any runner in Boston. The 28-year-old Kenyan won marathons in 2019 and 2020, too: Saitama, Japan in 2019 and Valencia, Spain in 2020. Her time from the Máraton Valencia Trinidad Alfonso is the best among all female runners in this year’s Boston Marathon, making her the consensus favorite.

Edna Kiplagat

At 42-years-old, Edna Kiplagat is one of the oldest—and most experienced—runners in the 126th Boston Marathon’s professional field. From Kenya, she has run professionally since 1997, according to World Athletics. Kiplagat finished 10th in her first marathon, the 2005 Las Vegas Marathon, and won both the Los Angeles and New York marathons in 2010. She won Boston in 2017 at age 38, and will look to complete an even bigger upset this year.

Desiree Linden

Another experienced runner at 38, Desiree Linden holds the best personal-best marathon time of any American woman. She ran it at the 2011 Boston Marathon, and she won Boston in 2018. She finished fourth in the 2020 Olympic Team Trials, narrowly missing out on running the marathon for a medal in Tokyo. An ultramarathoner, she holds the women’s world record in the 50-kilometer (31-mile) race, running it in 2:59:54.

Bonus: Sarah Fuller

Yes, the former Vanderbilt University women’s soccer goalkeeper and football placekicker is accomplishing another feat: running 26.2 miles for the first time. The 22-year-old has documented her training on social media. She first gained fame for playing in an NCAA football game for Vanderbilt against the University of Missouri. Later in the season, she became the first woman to score in a football game in one of the Power Five conferences when she made both of her extra-point attempts against the University of Tennessee.

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