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Boston Marathon History: 2006-2010

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For the third year, the elite women enjoyed an earlier start and the result was the closest finish in the history of Boston’s women’s division. Rita Jeptoo (2:23:38) pulled away from Jelena Prokopcuka (2:23:48) and Reiko Tosa (2:24:11) over the final miles, as the trio ran the eighth, 10th and 12th fastest times in Boston history. Not to be outdone, the men followed with a thrilling race of their own. A large pack followed the scorching early pace, with Benjamin Maiyo of Kenya and Meb Keflezighi of the United States taking the leaders through the half in 1:02:43, more than two minutes faster than Cosmas Ndeti’s course-record run in 1994. As the pace slowed, 2003 Boston champ Robert K. Cheruiyot asserted himself, shadowing Maiyo through the Newton hills. Finally, in the 21st mile, he made his move and set out against the clock, reaching the finish a scant one second under Ndeti’s previous record. Following Keflezighi, third in 2:09:56, were a string of strong U.S. performances, as five American men placed in the top 10. With 19,682 finishers, the 110th Boston Marathon was the second largest in history, and marked the first time that the race utilized a two-wave start. The first 10,000 runners began at the traditional noon starting time, with the remainder of the field starting at 12:30 p.m. Also a first, the race was scored using net, rather than gun, time.


The second largest Boston Marathon in history (23,869 entrants; 20,339 finishers) was threatened by some of the most extreme weather in the race’s history. Heavy rains and severe winds hit Boston in the early morning hours of race day, however by the time the starting gun sounded the wet and windy weather had calmed enough for the race to go on. The presence of the top three female marathoners in the world from 2006, Jelena Prokopcuka, Rita Jeptoo and Deena Kastor, made this one of the strongest women’s fields in Boston history. Emerging at the end, though, was Russian Lidiya Grigoryeva, who won in a time of 2:29:18, followed closely by Prokopcuka, who was runner-up for the second year in a row. The men’s race played out more to form, as course record holder Robert K. Cheruiyot held off fellow Kenyans James Kwambai and Stephen Kiogora. Though he crossed the finish line almost seven minutes slower than his course record of 2006, Cheruiyot nonetheless captured his third Boston crown, joining a select group of three-time champions. Along with Boston and Chicago in 2006, the win was Cheruiyot’s third straight in World Marathon Majors competition. Also, for the first time ever, Boston served as the U.S. Women’s Marathon Championship. Four American women, led by Kastor, placed in the top 10.


In one of the most remarkable weekends of racing that Boston has ever seen, the 112th Boston Marathon set off from Hopkinton just 24 hours after the U.S. Olympic Team Trials—Women’s Marathon, run through the streets of Boston and Cambridge, had determined the U.S. Olympic team. While Deena Kastor thrilled marathon fans on Sunday with her Olympic Trials win, on Monday it was Boston veteran Robert K. Cheruiyot and rookie Dire Tune picking up where Kastor had left off. Tune and Alevtina Biktimirova broke away from the women’s field, which included past champs Rita Jeptoo and Lidiya Grigoryeva, and battled all the way to Boylston Street. After trading the lead repeatedly over the final miles, Tune finally began to pull in the last quarter mile, becoming Boston’s youngest women’s champion since Joan Benoit in 1979. Cheruiyot again proved that he is currently unrivaled in his mastery of the Boston course, winning his third consecutive and fourth career title. In doing so, he joined Clarence DeMar (seven victories), Gerard Cote (four victories), and Bill Rodgers (four victories), as the only men to have won Boston at least four times. Registration for the 112th Boston Marathon had to be closed in late February because the 25,000 person field had already filled. On race day, there were 25,283 official entrants and 21,948 finishers—both figures representing the second-largest totals in Boston history, behind only the 1996 100th-running of the Boston Marathon. John Hancock increased the 2008 prize purse to a total of $796,000, with $150,000 going to each of the two champions.


For the second consecutive year, the Boston Marathon added new events to Marathon Weekend. On Sunday, nearly 4,000 people toed the Boylston Street start line for the inaugural B.A.A. 5K. Registration for the first-time event filled within days. Afterwards, some of the fastest mile runners in the country took part in the B.A.A. Invitational Mile. Additionally, the 16 fastest boys and girls from the eight towns through which the Marathon course runs took part in the Scholastic Invitational Mile. Both events served as a thrilling appetizer for Mondays’ entrée. Monday was a day for the B.A.A. record book, as Salina Kosgei of Kenya waited until the last minute to push past defending champion Dire Tune of Ethiopia, and top American Kara Goucher. Kosgei won the women’s race in the closest finish in race history, out-pacing Tune by one second in a photo-finish. In the men’s race, Deriba Merga of Ethiopia ran confidently and with a strong lead for the last few miles, becoming the first Ethiopian to win the Boston Marathon since 2005. On race day, there were 26,331 official entrants and 22,843 finishers, the second highest totals in race history — including a record 10,934 female entrants, and 9,298 female finishers. The B.A.A. and principal sponsor John Hancock Financial increased the 2009 prize purse to a total of $806,000.


Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot from Kenya ran from Hopkinton to Boston 82 seconds faster than anyone in Boston Marathon history. With a time of 2:05:52, he beat Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot’s (no relation) 2006 record of 2:07:14. Teyba Erkesso of Ethiopia survived a late surge by Tatyana Pushkareva of Russia for a three second victory, finishing with a time of 2:26:11. Over three years, the women’s race was decided bya combined six seconds. In the men’s push rim wheelchair division, Ernst Van Dyk of South Africa earned his ninth title and became the most successful Boston Marathon competitor of all time. With a time of 1:26:53, he beat countryman Krige Schabort by three seconds in the second-closest finish in men’s wheelchair division history. Marking 25 years of race partnership, prinicpal sponsor John Hancock Financial Services provided $806,000 in prize money, and Cheruiyot received an additional $25,000 for setting the course record. Through runners in the Boston Marathon, the Official Charity Program surpassed the $100 million mark since its inception in 1989, with $10.2 raised in 2010. With 9,772 women amid 23,126 official starters, 2010 had the most women starters in Boston Marathon history, and the higest percentage of women with 42.25% of the field.

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B.A.A. Moment 3

1966 - Bobbi Gibb

Although not an official entrant, Roberta “Bobbi” Gibb became the first woman to run the Boston Marathon. Joining the starting field shortly after the gun had been fired, Gibb finished the race in 3:21:40 to place 126th overall. Gibb again claimed the “unofficial” title in 1967 and 1968.