For the past three years, Kenyans have been shut out of the prestigious Boston Marathon but this year they made a grand comeback.
Geoffrey Kirui won the 121st Boston Marathon on Monday, pulling away from three-time U.S. Olympian Galen Rupp with two miles to go to give Kenya its first men’s victory in five years. Edna Kiplagat won the women’s race to complete the Kenyan sweep.
They were followed closely by Americans who grabbed two of the top four women’s spots and six of the top ten for men — the first time that’s happened since the race went professional in 1986.
“It’s so exciting to see Americans being competitive here,” said Rupp, the Olympic bronze medalist who was making his Boston debut. “It’s a real exciting time. And it’s awesome to see American distance running on the upswing and being competitive in these races.”
Women's leader Kiplagat passed water table, went back, grabbed the wrong bottle, put it back and then kept going. She has a 28 sec lead… pic.twitter.com/uvoGNmAp7i
— FloTrack (@FloTrack) April 17, 2017
Edna Kiplagat, a Kenyan police officer, won the women’s race in 2:21:52, needing only one try in Boston to add to wins in London, New York (in 2010) and Los Angeles. She pulled ahead of Rose Chelimo of Bahrain in the Newton hills to win by 59 seconds.
“When I was running, my body was feeling good,” said Kiplagat, who was greeted at the finish line by two of her children.
Rounding out the top 10 were runners from California, Arizona, Colorado, Oregon and Utah.
“American distance running is looking good today,” said sixth-place finisher Abdi Abdirahman, a Somali immigrant and Tucson resident who is a four-time Olympian. “We have the podium for both men and women, so the future is great.”
Kenya had won either the men’s or women’s race every year since 1991 before being shut out in 2014 and again last year. In fact, Kenya had taken both titles six times since 2000, so dominating the top 10 that Boylston Street began to look like a Great Rift Valley training run.