Winning times were almost 10 minutes slower than last year
Twelve months ago in Boston, a handful of the world’s best marathon runners were blessed with perfect conditions as Kenyan duo Geoffrey Mutai and Moses Mosop battled it out and threatened the 2:03 barrier, recording the fastest times ever witnessed over 26.2 miles.
The times did not count for official record purposes as Boston is a point-to-point course with a large elevation drop – which, when combined with perfect temperatures and a helpful following wind, is the reason why the race is capable of producing fast times.
But when the conditions are not perfect, the pendulum can swing the other way. That is what happened in today’s Boston Marathon, where the winning times achieved by Kenyan duo Wesley Korir and Sharon Cherop were almost 10 minutes slower than last year.
Battling in 27C temperatures, the elite athletes knew better than to set off at record pace. Instead they sat back and the men went through half way in 66:10. 10km later, Mathew Kisorio and Levy Matebo had broken away while Korir was 39 seconds behind in sixth place and looked to be out of it.
At 35km, defending champion Mutai dropped out. Meanwhile, Korir had moved into third place but at this point he was a minute behind leader Matebo. Kisorio began to drop back significantly, but Korir got his second wind and made major inroads to Matebo’s lead.
Korir hit the lead with just a few milometres remaining and continued to pull clear, crossing the line in 2:12:40 – a time that would not have made the top 10 in last year’s race. The US-based runner had twice won the LA Marathon in recent years, but this was his biggest victory to date. Matebo held on for second in 2:13:06, while Bernard Kipyego (2:13:13) made it a Kenyan sweep ahead of USA’s Jason Hartmann (2:14:31).
There lead group in the women’s race stuck together longer than the men’s leaders, and in another steady-paced race Cherop was one of nine athletes who passed through the halfway mark in 77:08. Five athletes were still in contention 10km later, but as was the case in the men’s race, the defending champion struggled in the closing stages and Caroline Kilel dropped out.
Cherop, the world bronze medallist, saved just enough for the finish as she kicked ahead of team-mate Jemima Jelagat, crossing the line in 2:31:50 with a two-second winning margin. Fellow Kenyan Georgina Rono completed the sweep with 2:33:09, beating last year’s New York champion Firehiwot Dado.