Kenyans swept the men’s podium as the 126th Boston Marathon returned to its traditional Spring calendar on Monday, April 18, after pandemic regulations canceled it in 2020 and readjusted it in 2021.
Evans Chebet won the men’s marathon in two hours six minutes and 51 seconds to head the first all-Kenyan podium since 2012. He beat Lawrence Cherono, the 2019 Boston winner by 30 seconds while the defending champion Benson Kipruto came in third. Thirty-three-year-old Chebet who considers this a major first marathon win came in fourth in the 2021 London Marathon.
The women’s elite marathon race was won by Kenya’s Peres Jepchirchir in a historic year for women runners who only began competing officially in 1972. This win is a debut for Jepchirchir who is the reigning Olympic champion. The twenty-eight-year-old won last year’s New York Marathon and Boston is her fifth victory in a row since 2019.
Jepchirchir won by edging out Ethiopia’s Ababel Yeshaneh in the final stretch of a nail-biting memorable duel. The Kenyan 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. She was not the only one surprised at her victory,
“I was not expecting to win,” said Jepchirchir, the reigning Olympic champion. “But I’m feeling grateful, and now I can say that I believe in myself more. I just believed in myself. I usually have hope. When you see the tape for finishing, that’s when the strength comes,” she said.
The men’s champion was more confident going into the race, “I’m extremely proud. I knew I had it in my legs to win,” Chebet said. Other Kenyans featured among the top tier of the renowned race including former Boston, London, and New York champion, Edna Kiplagat of Kenya was fourth, while 2021 London winner Joyciline Jepkosgei of Kenya was seventh.
The marathon brought together 30,000 competitors who each had to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to take part. The Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest annual marathon and ranks as one of the world’s best-known road racing events. It is one of six World Marathon Majors.