Kenya has claimed victory in both the men’s and women’s sections of the 127th Boston Marathon. Evans Chebet and Hellen Obiri were declared winners of the top honors in their respective categories.
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Despite being the returning champion, Evans Chebet was not favored heading into this year’s race with Eliud Kipchoge present. Kipchoge is widely considered to be the greatest marathoner ever, having won 15 marathons and having competed in and won four of the six Abbott World Marathon Majors. With him finally gracing the oldest and most famous marathon in the world with his strides, it was only natural for his shadow to loom large over the rest of the field.
Kipchoge’s literal shadow was in front of the field for about 20 miles before he fell back in with the pack. Tanzanian Gabriel Geay took the lead for a mile, ahead of Chebet and fellow Kenyan training partner Benson Kipruto, before Chebet gradually broke away from the pack in the last couple of miles to become the first man since Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot to win back-to-back Boston Marathons.
“I’m happy because I know this course very well,” Chebet told ESPN following his win. “I won last year, and now I’ve won this year — so maybe next year I’ll come back again.”
Kipruto would follow Geay across the Boylston Street finish line for third. Kipchoge would finish in sixth, leaving him still in search of a marathon triumph in the Boston and TCS NYC races of the Abbott Majors Series.
In the women’s race, Hellen Obiri won Boston in only her second-ever marathon, with a time of 2:21.38. She was the last athlete entered into the elite field and arrived in the U.S. less than a month ago.
“First of all, it was like I didn’t want to come here because my heart was somewhere else,” Obiri said. “Then my coach tried to tell me that my heart tells me to go for Boston. Then, after three days, I said, ‘Yes, I can do it.’ So from there, we planned for Boston, and it’s actually like three weeks. So I’m very, very happy because it’s like a surprise to me.”