July 4, 2022

Evans Chebet of Kenya wins the men's elite race at the 126th Boston Marathon.

Boston Marathon highlights: Pierce Jepschershire wins in a sprint final. Evans Chipett runs the men’s race

BOSTON—The organizers of the Boston Marathon did not allow women to race in an official capacity until 1972. Prior to that, those who were brave enough to defy the ban were often mocked or forcibly pulled from the track. Among the justifications cited? That women are “physiologically unable” to run 26.2 miles.

It all seems painfully misleading now, of course, but that gritty piece of event history was worth remembering on Monday as Peres Gebshireshire of Kenya and Ababil Yeshanh of Ethiopia zip through Kenmore Square, in the shadow of Fenway Park, not far from the finish line. The rest of the ornate women’s square has split in their wake, and now Jepshire and Yishan go back and forth, trading the lead several times as they engage in an unforgettable duel.

Finally, with one final push, Jepchirchir lengthened her stride to create some disconnect, and her narrow victory came 50 years after women competed for the first time for Boston Marathon glory. Perhaps the only person who was surprised by the result was Jabshirshire herself.

“I wasn’t expecting to win,” said Jepschershire, the Olympic champion. “But I’m grateful, and now I can say I believe in myself more.”

credit…Charles Krupa/The Associated Press

For the first time since 2019, the Boston Marathon has returned to its traditional spot on the calendar. Until the outbreak of the Corona virus pandemic, the marathon had been held every April since 1897. But in 2020, the race was canceled for the first time in its history. And last year, the race was postponed Until Octoberwhen she competed for the elite entrants with a host of other marathons.

Order has been restored this year, as an entire field of about 30,000 participants—runners, wheelchair racers, athletes, hand cyclists—formed a giant wave from Hopkinton, Massachusetts, to Boston on a cold, sunny day.

Nobody shone more than Jepchirchir, 28, who finished the race in 2 hours, 21 minutes and 1 second, just four seconds ahead of Yeshana. Mary Ngogi of Kenya finished third after running a clever race: she knew enough to run herself when Jepshire and Yishanh hit the gas, blowing up the field.

“I am glad that I did not follow them but die,” said Ngogi.

Proving herself as the strongest marathon runner on the planet, Jepchirchir has now won the last five and three marathons in the past eight months: after Survive in extremely hot conditions To win the Tokyo Olympics in August, Geepshire Won the New York City Marathon In November. Now, after another victory, she is already looking ahead.

“I still have more to do,” she said.

And Kenyans swept the men’s podium. Evans Chebet, 33, won his first world marathon grand slam when he knocked out a large group, finishing in 2:06:51. Lawrence Chirono was second and Benson Kipruto, last year’s winner, was third.

credit…Stephen Sene/The Associated Press

The pack started fading behind Chebet after he cut the mile 22 in 4:27, an unbelievable cadence. It seemed that crushing his opposition pushed him forward.

“My peers were nowhere near me, and that gave me the motivation and determination to win and win,” he said through an interpreter.

On Monday, fortune was largely in the interest of the brave — but not everyone. CJ Albertson, a 28-year-old from California who is training for marathons by doing marathons, pushed at a fast pace right from the start.

“My only chance of really winning or being on top is to kind of break some people,” he said. “I had the mentality that I’m invincible, and you have to work that way.”

The problem: “There are limits,” he said.

Albertson slipped to 13th with a time of 2:10:23, which was still his personal best. Scott Vobel, 30, was the number one American man in seventh. “I think I’m doing really well with the hills,” he said.

Molly Seidela crowd favorite and a former Boston-area resident, struggled on her Boston debut, dropping out on Mile 16. She He said in a statement She was dealing with a groin injury.

“I had to make the hard call to stop at a medical tent to avoid really hurting anything,” she said.

Seidl, Bronze Medalist In the women’s marathon at the Tokyo Games, he had finished fourth in the New York City Marathon with a broken rib.

Neil Rojas was the fastest American woman, placing 10th with a time of 2:25:57.

Sport is rarely safe from global politics, and this year’s marathon was no different. Amid the war in Ukraine, runners from Russia and Belarus were banned from competing by the Boston Athletic Association, which organizes the race. (Citizens of Russia and Belarus residing in other countries are still allowed to participate.)

And there were, as always, reminders of the horror that tore down the marathon nine years ago. Henry Richard, 20, crossed the finish line at 2:52 pm, and the timing couldn’t be more poignant: It was around the time in 2013 when two bombs exploded and killed Henry’s 8-year-old brother, Martin, and two other people, And wounded 264 others.

credit…Brian Snyder/Reuters

“I know Martin would have done it with me,” Richard said after the race on Monday. “That’s all I can think of.”

Richard finished at 4:02:20. “I did it for both of us, my sister and the rest of our family,” he said. “I couldn’t be happier now. I would do it again.”

In its subtle way, Gebshireshire has provided a counterpoint to some of the world’s divisions. In the later stages of the race, she and Shane seemed to be working together to extend their lead. At one point, Jebshireshire offered Yeshanh some water.

It all looked straight out of the Jepchirchir playbook. Consider her performance in New York last year, when Viola Chepto encouraged her fellow Kenyan to stay with her When they entered Central Park side by side. Gebshireshire eventually pulled out, but Chepto was praised for her sportsmanship.

On Monday, it was like that, all those years after eight women broke the sex barrier by racing against over a thousand men.

“I love my competition,” said Jepshire, “because I can’t do it on my own.”