Kenya’s Benson Kipruto won Monday’s pandemic-delayed Boston Marathon. The race returned after a 30-month hiatus with a smaller feel, and was able to move from the spring for only the second time in its 125 year history.
Despite organizers requiring runners to go through COVID-19 protocols, spectators were asked to keep their distance. Large crowds lined 26.2-mile route from Hopkinton to Boston in the early drizzle clearing and the temperatures rising to the low 60s. It was a gorgeous fall day.
The group watched Kipruto race away from the pack at Beacon Street, with three miles left, and then break the tape in two hours, nine minutes, 51 seconds. To complete the eighth Kenyan sweep, Diana Kipyogei won women’s racing.
Kipruto, a winner in Athens and Prague, finished 10th in Boston in 2019. American CJ Albertson broke away early. He led by as much as two minutes at half-way. Kipruto won Cleveland Circle with 46 seconds, beating Lemi Berhanu, the 2016 winner. Albertson was 28 on Monday and finished 10th, 1 minutes back.
Kipyogei won the race for a large part and finished in 2 hours 24:45, 23 seconds faster than 2017 winner Edna Kiplagat.
Marcel Hug from Switzerland won the men’s wheelchair race earlier, despite making a mistake in the last mile. He finished the slightly detoured route in just seven seconds under his course record of 1:08:11.
Manuela Schar, also a Swiss woman, won the women’s wheelchair race in 1;35:21.
Hug, who raced Boston eight times, and has five wins here, was awarded a $50,000 course record bonus after he failed to turn into the second-to last turn. He followed the lead vehicle, instead of turning onto Hereford Street from Commonwealth Avenue.
Hug finished second in Sunday’s Chicago Marathon by 1 second. It’s all my fault. “I should have gone right, but I followed my car.”
The 125th Boston Marathon finally left Hopkinton, with fall foliage replacing spring daffodils, and more masks than mylar covers.
The race was canceled last year after organizers had to deal with a COVID-19 pandemic.
Race director Dave McGillivray stated, “It’s great feeling to go out on the roads.” “Everyone is excited. “We’re looking forward for a great day.”
Participants at Hopkinton Green were greeted by light rain. Around 30 uniformed Massachusetts National Guard members left the Hopkinton Green at 6 a.m. Following the women’s and men’s wheelchair racers, some of whom had completed the 26.2-mile (42.2km) distance in Chicago the previous day, the men’s profession fields left at 8:15 a.m.
“We assumed everything was a given before COVID-19. National Guard Capt. Greg Davis, 39, was walking for the fourth consecutive time with the military group. “This is an historic race, but this is a historic day.”
Kenya’s Lawrence Cherono of Kenya and Worknesh de Gefa of Ethiopia didn’t return to defend their titles in 2019, but thirteen past champions and five Tokyo Paralympic gold Medal winners were still active in the professional field.
Since 1896, when a group from Boston decided to organize a marathon, the race is held annually. It has also been staged during World Wars and the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. It was initially postponed and then cancelled last year. The race will be held again in spring 2021.
This is the first time that the event has not been held in April, as part of Patriots’ Day which commemorates the beginning of the Revolutionary War. Race organizers paid tribute to Ellison “Tarzan”, the 1936 and 39 winner, and Patti Catalano Dillon (three-time runner up), both members of the Mi’kmaq tribe.
To control the spread of coronavirus, runners needed to prove they were vaccinated. The start was redesigned by organizers so that runners in the recreational field, which numbers more than 18,000, didn’t have to wait in crowded corrals waiting for their wave; instead they can get on the Hopkinton bus.
Doug Flannery, 56-year-old Illinoisan who was waiting for his sixth Boston Marathon, said that “I love the fact we’re returning to races across the nation and the globe.” It gives people hope that things will improve.
As authorities vow to be vigilant eight years after the bombings on Boylston Street, near the Back Bay finish line that left three people dead and hundreds more injured, police were visible along the course.
The race began an hour earlier than normal, which resulted in smaller crowds in the first few towns. Students at Wellesley College were told not to kiss runners near the halfway point.