By Rédaction Africanews with AFP
Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge, the undisputed king of the event, who wanted to hang the oldest marathon on his record, only finished 6th in Massachusetts on Monday, very far behind his compatriot Evans Chebet, already winner in 2022.
Also, winner of the prestigious New York marathon last year, Chebet, 34, winner in 2 h 05 min 54 in Boston, achieved the first double there since 2008 and established himself as a serious competitor to Kipchoge in his quest for an Olympic treble in Paris in 2024.
“The conditions were very different from last year,” Chebet said at the finish, “but I felt it was still my day. And at the 20th kilometre, we said to each other with my training partner, Benson Kipruto, that it was.”
For Kipchoge, 38, it is a big disappointment and so many questions that now arise, just over a year from the Paris 2024 Games, the hilly route of Boston strongly resembling what that of Paris could be. next year.
In Massachusetts, from his first participation, the double Olympic champion (2016, 2021), world record holder (2 h 01 min 09 sec in Berlin on September 25) hoped to complete his collection of victories in the most prestigious marathons in the world. world.
In light rain and a light wind, Kipchoge set off relatively quickly, taking advantage of the start of the downhill race to drop the majority of the competitors.
At the 30th kilometre, he was still leading a group of seven runners when, just after this symbolic bar, he was unable to follow a first attack from the Tanzanian Gabriel Geay.
A second attack, carried by Evans Chebet a little before kilometer 35, drew the future podium, Geay and Benson Kipruto, another favourite, being the last to be able to cling to the coattails of the Kenyan.
If Chebet was finally detached in the last kilometres, Geay had to work until the end to seize, in the sprint, second place in 2 h 06 min 04, just in front of Kipruto, the man in good shape after his victory in Chicago last October, finally 3rd in 2h 06 min 06.
Unlike the men, the women opted for a grouped race, at a slow pace from the start.
At the 35th kilometer, they were still eight who could hope to win, including the Ethiopian favourite, Amane Beriso, winner of the Valencia marathon in 2 h 14 min 58 sec in December.
Beriso did not, however, resist a final acceleration from Kenyan Hellen Obiri, middle-distance specialist, world champion in the 5000m in London in 2017 and Doha in 2019, and who participated in Boston in only the second marathon of her career.
On the last climb before the finish at Boylston Street, Obiri broke away to finally win in 2:21:38, bettering her personal best by more than 3 minutes. She edged Beriso by 12 seconds and Kenyan-born Israeli Lonah Salpeter by 19.
Monday’s race also marked 10 years since the April 15, 2013 bombing that killed three and injured nearly 300 near the finish line and was carried out by two American-born brothers. Chechen and Kyrgyz, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
Most of the commemorative events took place on Saturday, including a ceremony at the new finish line.