Highlights from the 120th running of the Boston Marathon
By James O'Brien
Near perfect conditions greeted the 27,491 runners who lined up in Hopkinton for the 120th running of the Boston Marathon: temperatures in the low '60s; no humidity; a gentle, cooling breeze. Ethiopia’s Lemi Berhanu Hayle took supreme advantage of the crystal clear day, running away from defending champion Lelisa Desisa in grand style before breaking the tape in 2:12:45.
Meandering through the early miles, the large pack was full of the world’s best. Joining Hayle and Desisa were 2012 champion Wesley Korir of Kenya and last year’s runner-up Yemane Adhane Tsegay of Ethiopia, among others. There was more than enough firepower to burn up the roads out of Hopkinton.
Japan's Shingo Igarashi led through the opening miles on a pace faster than his 2:13:14 personal best. But even that, for the field of thoroughbreds, was barely enough to warrant them taking off their sweats. It did, however, set the stage for an intriguing competition.
By four miles (20:07), Igarashi still held his pole position. But by five miles (25:19), his day was done. The cumbersome lead pack swallowed him whole and, though he hung on for the next mile or so, he ultimately faded to 19th in 2:26:24. From this point onward, it was all about the power of East Africa, especially Hayle and Desisa.
By Barbara Huebner
With just over four miles remaining in the 120th Boston Marathon, the women’s podium was locked up. Joyce Chepkirui and Tirfi Tsegaye looked great, and Valentine Kipketer was still hanging on a step behind them. The trio had traversed the Newton Hills shoulder-to-shoulder, without a challenger in sight.
Then, suddenly, a hint of color in the distance. Is that yellow dot getting closer? Yes, emphatically and without a doubt, that yellow dot was getting closer. Could it possibly be the lead man already, barreling forward at such a rate of speed? No, but who WAS it?
Tsegaye, of Ethiopia, had been looking over her shoulder for the past mile, wary that the Kenyans might be approaching. Instead, she finally caught a glimpse of that inexorably closing yellow dot, and reality hit her hard.
“When I saw her, I knew she was going to win,” said Tsegaye of her training partner.