Eliud Kipchoge, renowned as one of the most accomplished distance runners in history, is set to enhance his legendary status as he debuts at the Boston Marathon on Monday.
As a two-time Olympic gold medalist and the current world record holder for the marathon, Kipchoge has previously claimed titles in prestigious races such as Berlin, London, Tokyo, and Chicago, four of the six renowned World Marathon Majors. As such, he is considered the frontrunner in the highly competitive elite men’s race at the Boston Marathon.
This year holds special significance as it marks the 127th edition of the historic Boston Marathon, and also commemorates the 10-year anniversary of the tragic bombings that occurred near the finish line, resulting in the loss of three lives and injuring over 260 individuals. As a result, the elite races this year are anticipated to be emotionally charged, with an exceptionally strong field of participants, making it a momentous event in the world of marathon racing.
Ethiopian athlete Lelisa Desisa, who won the men’s race in Boston the year of the tragic bombings and generously donated his medal to the city, is making his return to the prestigious Boston Marathon. He will be joined by two other previous champions, Kenyans Evans Chebet and Benson Kipruto, who will be looking to challenge their compatriot Eliud Kipchoge for the title.
However, it is unlikely that Kipchoge, who has been beaten only twice in his illustrious career in the 26.2-mile distance of the marathon, will be defeated in Boston this year. The Boston Marathon is a point-to-point course, starting in Hopkinton and finishing in Copley Square, which is not eligible for world record recognition due to its hilly terrain and windy conditions, often resulting in slower times compared to other major marathons.
Kipchoge currently holds the world record for the marathon with a time of 2:01:09, achieved at the 2018 Berlin Marathon, and it is expected to remain untouched at this year’s Boston Marathon. However, he has set his sights on breaking Geoffrey Mutai’s course record of 2:03:02, which was set in 2011. To prepare for the challenging Boston course, Kipchoge has been training on a hilly course near his training base in the Kenyan village of Kaptagat, which has been aptly nicknamed “Boston”.
In addition to holding the official world record, Kipchoge is also renowned for being the first person to break the two-hour barrier in the marathon, achieved in 2019 when he ran a time of 1:59:40 in Vienna, Austria as part of a specially designed challenge to optimize performance over the marathon distance.
In the women’s elite race, three former Boston winners will headline the competition: Des Linden, a favorite among the home crowd, veteran Kenyan runner Edna Kiplagat, and Ethiopia’s 2016 champion Atsede Bayisa.
The upcoming Boston Marathon is set to feature a highly competitive field with top athletes from around the world. Defending champion Lelisa Desisa from Ethiopia will be returning to Boston, while previous champions Evans Chebet and Benson Kipruto from Kenya are also expected to challenge Eliud Kipchoge for the title. Kipchoge, who holds the world record and was the first person to break the two-hour barrier in the marathon, has been training on a hilly course in Kenya to prepare for the challenging Boston course.
In the women’s elite race, former Boston winners Des Linden from the United States, Edna Kiplagat from Kenya, and Atsede Bayisa from Ethiopia will be among the top contenders. Other notable athletes in the field include Gotytom Gebreslase from Ethiopia, Lonah Salpeter from Israel, and Hellen Obiri from Kenya, who will be competing in only her second marathon after finishing sixth in New York last year.
The Boston Marathon course is known for its net downhill profile but includes several challenging climbs in the second half, including the infamous Heartbreak Hill at the 20-mile mark, making it a technical course. However, the final five miles offer a net descent, which can work to the advantage of the runners.
Weather conditions are also expected to play a role in this year’s race, with rain and wind forecasted during the day. Runners may have to contend with increased winds and potential rain showers, with temperatures reaching around 60 degrees Fahrenheit (16 degrees Celsius) in the early afternoon.
The Boston Marathon will kick off with the men’s wheelchair race at 9:02 a.m. ET, followed by the men’s and women’s elite races at 9:37 a.m. ET and 9:47 a.m. ET respectively. The first wave of the mass start will begin at 10 a.m. ET. The race will be broadcasted in the United States on WCVB and ESPN, with international broadcasters available on the Boston Athletic Association website.
Overall, the 2023 Boston Marathon promises to be an exciting and challenging race with top athletes vying for the title and battling against the elements and the technical course.