The 120th running of the Boston Marathon ended with the event’s first ever Ethiopian double
Atsede Baysa and Lemi Berhanu Hayle claimed victory at the 120th running of the Boston Marathon on Monday to complete the event’s first ever Ethiopian double.
While Hayle was always present before he pulled away from defending champion Lelisa Desisa in the final kilometres, Baysa overcame a 37-second deficit at 22 miles to surge past the two athletes in front of her to claim her win.
Hayle led an Ethiopian clean sweep of the podium places with his winning time of 2:12:44 in the men’s event, while it was an Ethiopian one-two in the women’s race topped by Baysa’s 2:29:19.
After a slow start during which defending champion Caroline Rotich dropped out between four and five miles, the halfway point of the women’s race was passed by the leading group in 75:25. By 30km a group of four – Ethiopia’s Tirfi Tsegaye and Kenyans Joyce Chepkirui, Valentine Kipketer and Flomena Daniel – was well established, and as Tsegaye and Chepkirui surged ahead it looked as though the top two might have been decided.
Baysa had other ideas, though, and she not only made up the 37-second deficit from the 22-mile mark but passed Chepkirui and then Tsegaye to eventually finish 44 seconds clear. Tsegaye secured the runner-up spot with 2:30:03 ahead of Chepkirui with 2:30:50. Lativia’s Jelena Prokopcuka placed fourth in 2:32:28, while USA’s Neely Spence Gracey secured a top-10 place, clocking 2:35:00 for ninth.
In the men’s race, 2015 Dubai Marathon winner Hayle stuck with Desisa when he decided to make a move and then the battle was on. With just over a mile to go the 21-year-old pulled away and had built a 47-second gap by the time he reached the finishing line. Desisa finished in 2:13:32, while Yemane Tsegay pipped 2012 winner Wesley Korir by three seconds with his time of 2:14:02 to complete the Ethiopian clean sweep.
There was another top-10 spot for the first American in the men’s race too as Zach Hine ran 2:21:37 for 10th.
Earlier marathon action had seen USA’s Tatyana McFadden dominate to claim her fourth consecutive Boston woman’s wheelchair race victory, while Switzerland’s Marcel Hug won the men’s event as Britain’s six-time Paralympic champion David Weir finished fourth.
» Video clips from EverSport of the final stages of the two elite races can be found here