© Copyright – 2024 – Athletics Illustrated

Ethiopian Sisay Lemma and Kenyan Hellen Obiri won the 2024 B.A.A. Boston Marathon on Monday, President’s Day, in 2:06:17 and 2:22:37, respectively.

Keeping to the President’s Day theme, the two political candidates running for the next federal election are nowhere near as compelling as the 200 or so, elite and sub-elite athletes who campaigned for the win in Boston.

The men’s race

Lemma denied Kenyan Evans Chebet, age 35, a third consecutive title. The Kenyan would have been only the fifth man in race history to win three times in a row.

Lemma covered the first half split in 60:19 and then decided to increase the pace. The chase pack, which included Chebet hit halfway in 62:08 — when you are trailing here — unlike politics — the race is over. Lemma’s lead extended to 2:49 at 32 kilometres (20 miles), where the metaphorical wall was erected.

As anticipated, the 2021 London Marathon champion’s pace began to slow. However, he was able to keep the lead for the win. During the final 5K, which is mostly downhill, he maintained a sub 3:15/km pace. In the end, despite some shakey final kms, Lemma won by 41 seconds over fellow Ethiopian Mohamed Esa who clocked in at 2:06:58.

The 2023 Tokyo silver medallist, moved up from 4th to 2nd, during the final 2K. Chebet finished third in 2:07:22 and like politics, the top spot can only be held for two terms. Lemma’s personal best is 2:01:48 from the 2023 Valencia Marathon. He is the fourth-fastest marathon runner all-time behind only Kenenisa Bekele (2:01:41, ETH), Eliud Kipchoge (2:01:09, KEN) and Kelvin Kiptum (2:00:35, KEN).

Esa’s personal best is 2:05:05 from the 2022 running of the Amsterdam Marathon. Chebet is the 10th fastest at 2:03:00 from the 2020 Valencia Marathon.

Obiri, the defending champion

Kenya’s Hellen Obiri turned the screws on the pace dropping a large pack late in the race to become the first woman to repeat as Boston Marathon champion since 2005. The 5000m legend, crossed the finish line in 2:22:37.

The 34-year-old separated herself from more than a dozen others during the second half of the race. A battle was waged between her and fellow Kenyan Sharon Lodeki over the final 5K. Kenya swept the podium, with Lodeki finishing second in 2:22:45. Two-time champion and 44-year-old Edna Kiplagat took third in 2:23:21.

Kiplagat is a two-time World Champion in the marathon having won at the 2011 Daegu meet and 2013 Moscow event. She has won four Major Marathons in Boston twice, New York and London once each. She has finished top-5 in 13 of the 14 marathons she has entered. Her personal best is 2:19:50 from the 2012 London Marathon, which was done pre-super shoe era.

Obiri is a two-time Olympic Games 5000m silver medallist. Her first win came during the 2023 Boston Marathon. She has now won three consecutive marathons (Boston twice, 2023, 2024 and New York in 2023). Her first marathon was at the 2022 New York event where she finished sixth. Obiri is a 17-time Diamond League winner from the mile (1609m) to the 5000m distance events. She is a two-time World Champion over 5000m.

Emma Bates and CJ Albertson, top Americans

CJ Albertson was the top American male to finish, clocking in at 2:09:53 and taking seventh place overall. The 30-year-old owns an official best of 2:10:07 from February’s USATF Paris Olympic Trials which took place in Orlando, Florida. The Fresno, CA native was likely seeking redemption for not automatically qualifying for the Paris Games. During the Trials, only Connor Mantz and Clayton Young managed to do so. The qualification standard is 2:08:10 for the men and 2:26:50 for the women or be ranked top 80 globally and, finishing top three at the Trials.

Emma Bates ran with the lead pack and took the lead a few times during the first 32K. She ended up being the first American across the line. She finished in a respectable 2:27:14 and 12th position overall. Bates owns a best of 2:23:18 from the 2022 Eugene World Athletics Championships. Last year, she was the top American but ran much faster in 2:22:10 — fast enough to win this year. Year-to-year it is impossible to compare Boston Marathons as the weather can vary greatly each time. Being point-to-point, a wind-aided year runners can be wind-assisted the entire way and likewise with a headwind, causing drastic changes in results.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.