In a welcome return after a 910-day absence, the 125th Boston Marathon took center stage on the roads between Hopkinton and Boston with Kenyan’s Benson Kipruto and Diana Kipyokei winning the titles.
Some 15,736 participants started this year’s historic edition of the world’s oldest annual marathon, with a pair of first time champions and two familiar faces topping the podium.
The men’s and women’s professional race crowned new champions, with Kipruto, 30, winning in 2:09:51 and Kipyokei, 27, in 2:24:45.
The wheelchair divisions, meanwhile, belonged to a pair of familiar names, with the Swiss duo of Marcel Hug and Manuela Schär breaking the tape. Schär defended her Boston title in 1:35:21, with Hug winning here for the fifth time, in 1:18:11.
In the men’s professional race, Kipruto – who finished tenth here in 2019, his only previous appearance – ran the second half of the race almost three minutes faster than the first, assuming the lead at mile 23 after being part of the pack chasing American CJ Albertson for 20 miles. Albertson, on his 28th birthday, took off alone at the start at one point led by 2:13 until he was finally reeled in on Heartbreak Hill (he’d later finish tenth).
“It was a nice feeling today after finishing tenth a couple of years ago,” Kipruto said while wearing his gold olive wreath. “I’m happy today to be a champion.”
Kipyokei took the lead in mile 18, at first see-sawing with Netsanet Gudeta of Ethiopia before soon taking off on her own. Two-time Boston champion Edna Kiplagat, 41, was runner-up, her time of 2:25:09 breaking the course master’s record.
Hug came within a late-race miscalculation from breaking his course record and world best of 1:18:04, set here in 2017. Instead of turning right onto Hereford Street, the veteran was so focused on breaking the record that he inadvertently went straight, following a lead vehicle that was leaving the course.
“It was my fault,” he said, estimating that he lost about 20 seconds. Hug was still pleased with the victory. “It’s fantastic to be here in Boston again after last year’s cancellation. So it’s fantastic.”
Schär was the women’s wheelchair victor, finishing ahead of runner-up Tatyana McFadden by 14:59. Schär led wire to wire. “I always have to use that first downhill because it’s one of my strengths,” said the three-time champion and course record holder. “So I did that and was able to break away from the pack.”
Top Americans in the professional race were Nell Rojas, 33, of Boulder, CO, and Colin Bennie, 26, a native of Massachusetts now living in Charlottesville, VA, who was competing in his first major city marathon after finishing 9th in his debut at the distance last year.
“It means the world to me,” he said of coming home to run his first Boston.
Women: 1 Diana Kipyogei (KEN) 2:24:45; 2 Edna Kiplagat (KEN) 2:25:09; 3 Mary Ngugi (KEN) 2:25:20; 4 Monicah Ngige (KEN) 2:25:32; 5 Netsanet Gudeta (ETH) 2:26:09; 6 Nell Rojas (USA) 2:27:12; 7 Workenesh Edesa (ETH) 2:27:38; 8 Atsede Baysa (ETH) 2:28:04; 9 Biruktayit Eshetu (ETH) 2:29:05; 10 Tigist Abayechew (ETH) 2:29:06
Men: 1 Benson Kipruto (KEN) 2:09:51; 2 Lemi Berhanu (ETH) 2:10:37; 3 Jemal Yimer (ETH) 2:10:38; 4 Tsedat Ayana (ETH) 2:10:47; 5 Leonard Barsoton (KEN) 2:11:11; 6 Bayelign Teshager (ETH) 2:11:16; 7 Colin Bennie (USA) 2:11:26; 8 Dejene Debela (ETH) 2:11:38; 9 Wilson Chebet (KEN) 2:11:40; 10 CJ Albertson (USA) 2:11:44
Women’s Wheelchair: 1. Manueal Schar (SUI) 1:35:21; 2. Tatyana McFadden (USA) 1:50:20; 3. Yen Hoang (USA) 1:51:24; 4. Vanessa De Souza (BRA) 1:53:23; 5. Shelly Wood (GBR) 1:543; 6. Jenna Fesemyer (USA) 1:59:51; 7. Margriet Van Den Broek (NED) 2:02:28; 8. Michelle Wheeler (USA) 2:07:10; 9. Arielle Rausin (USA) 2:07:32; Eva Houston (USA) 2:41:52
Men’s Wheelchair: 1. Marcel Hug (SUI) 1:18.11; 2. Daniel Romanchuk (USA) 1:25.46; 3. Ernst Van Dyk (RSA) 1:28.43; 4. Aaron Pyke (USA) 1:28.55; 5. Joshua Cassidy (CAN) 1:28:56; 6. Johnboy Smith (GBR) 1:31:43; 7. Kota Hokinoue (JPN) 1:34:16; 8. Hermin Garic (USA) 1:34:23; 9. Sho Watanabe (Jpn) 1:35:06; 10. Hiroki Nishida (JPN) 1:35:11