Boston Marathon sweep for Kenya, but not favorite Kipchoge

Boston Marathon
Posted at 10:21 AM, Apr 17, 2023

BOSTON (AP) — Defending champion Evans Chebet of Kenya won the Boston Marathon again on Monday, surging to the front at Heartbreak Hill to spoil the much-anticipated debut of world record holder Eliud Kipchoge and win in 2 hours, 5 minutes, 54 seconds.

Hellen Obiri, a two-time Olympic silver medalist in the 5,000 meters, won the women's race in a sprint down Boylston Street to finish in an unofficial 2:21:38 and complete the Kenyan sweep.

Chebet, 2021 winner Benson Kipruto of Kenya and Gabriel Geay of Tanzania dropped Kipchoge from the lead pack around Mile 20 and then ran together for the last three miles. Geay won a footrace for second, 10 seconds behind the winner and 2 seconds ahead of Kipruto.

Kipchoge, a 12-time major marathon winner, was sixth. Scott Fauble was the top American, finishing seventh.

Kipchoge had been hoping to add a Boston Marathon victory to his unprecedented running resume. The 38-year-old has won two Olympic gold medals and four of the six major marathons; Boston is the only one he has competed in and failed to win. (He has never run New York.) He also broke 2 hours in an exhibition in a Vienna park.

Fighting a trace of a headwind and rain that dampened the roads, Kipchoge ran in the lead pack from the start in Hopkinton until the series of climbs collectively known as Heartbreak Hill. But to the surprise of the fans lined up along Boylston Street for the final sprit, he wasn't among the three leaders.

Marcel Hug of Switzerland won the men’s wheelchair race in a course record time – his sixth victory here – and American Susannah Scaroni won her first Boston title despite having to stop early in the race to tighten her wheel.

For the first time, the race also includes a nonbinary division, with 27 athletes registered.

A dozen former champions and participants from 120 countries and all 50 states were in the field of 30,000 running 10 years after the finish line bombing that killed three people and wounded hundreds more. The race also included 264 members of the One Fund community — those injured by the attack, their friends and family and charities associated with them.

The city marked the anniversary in a ceremony on Saturday.

A robotic dog named Stompy belonging to the Department of Homeland Security patrolled the start line before the race began, trailed by photographers capturing the peculiar sight. Officials said there were no known threats.

At 6 a.m., race director Dave McGillivray sent out a group of about 20 from the Massachusetts National Guard that hikes the course annually. Capt. Kanwar Singh, 33, of Malden, Massachusetts, said it’s a special day.

“Ten years ago, the city came to a halt. It’s an incredibly strong comeback, as a group together,” he said. “I tell people, never bet against Bostonians.”