Edna Kiplagat is the champion of the 2017 Boston Marathon.
Kiplagat showed up in Boston on Monday morning with something to prove. The 38-year-old runner from Kenya made the trip to debut in North America’s most prestigious race with two World Marathon Majors gold medals under her belt already. Ranked second in the field, Kiplagat was adamant to race hard and take home World Major Marathon gold medal number three. She was competing against a fierce field of women on the streets of Boston today but relied on her marathon experience to cross the finish line first in 2:21:52.
Second to her was Rose Chelimo of Bahrain who ran competitive to come in for a silver medal in 2:22:51. Jordan Hasay was the third place woman at Boston today. Her race is the most exciting news today for fans of the North American running scene.
The 25-year-old made her debut in the distance today not only to take home a bronze medal at the biggest-deal marathon, but she also ran 2:23:00 on the nose to record the fastest U.S. female marathon debut so far. That mark was previously Kara Goucher’s 2:25:53, meaning Hasay smashed it by nearly three minutes.
Desiree Linden was the other athlete that American fans were keeping tabs on. Linden headed into Boston this morning aiming to win. She ran a solid race bringing it in for a fourth place finish. Her time was 2:25:06.
How it played out
As a fast field of female athletes lined up at the start line in Hopkinton just outside of Boston for the 9:32 a.m. elite start, temperatures were warmer than expected sitting at 22C.
The pace started off nice and easy. The group ended up going through the first mile marker in 5:55 with last year’s champion, Atsede Baysa, in the lead. Baysa stayed up front heading the pack as the pace picked up. She led them through the first 5K in 17:45. At 7K, America’s Desiree Linden took over making her way to the front. Linden took home silver in 2011 and made it clear that she was in Boston hoping to be first across the line and be the first U.S. woman to do so since 1985.
Linden led the women through 10K in 34:58 with competitor Joyce Chepkirui tucked in behind. Nearly a quarter into the race, the lead group consisted of a tight pack of 13 women. Caroline Rotich, who has given Linden tough competition in the past, dropped at 15K. Soon after, Buzunesh Deba who went into the marathon looking for her tenth win on U.S. soil, dropped back from the main group.
Just over an hour into the race though, eyes were on 25-year-old Jordan Hasay who was running strong in the top ten at that point during her marathon debut. One hour in, the group was 10 runners wide with champions from the past three years out of the lead pack. At 20K, American fans were happy to see Linden still in the lead clocking 1:08:49 and pushing the pace early on so as to gain an advantage over the fast half-marathoners in the field.
Approaching the half-way mark, Linden lost her lead to Edna Kiplagat who brought the women through the half-marathon in 1:12:24. Kiplagat arrived in Boston this weekend with something to prove. Having won in New York and London, the 38-year-old was looking for her third Marathon Major gold medal. At the 1:30 point in the race, Linden fell off the lead pack. Hasay however, hung in strong in the front group of five with Valentine Kipketer competing for the leading spot.
In a dramatic move, Linden surged ahead to make a recovery bridging the gap and re-joining the lead pack. She did not hang on though as Rose Chelimo and Kiplagat prepared to make their move at the 30K point.
Chelimo, who just made her debut in the marathon last year, led the women through 30K in 1:43:40. That’s the point when Kiplagat made the move that would win the Boston Marathon. She surged ahead of Chelimo to open up quite the gap. The pack spread out with Kiplagat, Chelimo and Hasay holding the first three spots– which they ended up keeping– with each running solo for the first time in the race.
Chelimo proved that not having experienced the Boston course before wasn’t going to hold her back. Her experience in the marathon made up for her lack of experience on the Boston Marathon course. The Kenyan knows how to race having won two of the majors but also having finished third in Tokyo and second in Chicago. She passed 35K in 1:59:15. From there, it was obvious that the gold was hers. By 40K, she had nearly a full minute lead of Chelimo at 2:14:43. She was able to close it out in 2:21:52 with Chelimo and Hasay going 2:22:51 and 2:23 respectively.