Boston Marathon updates: Ethiopia’s Sisay Lemma wins in runaway

BOSTON (AP) — Sisay Lemma scorched the first half of the Boston Marathon course Monday, setting a record pace to build a lead of more than a half-mile.

Then the weather got warmer and the 34-year-old Ethiopian slowed down.

After running alone for most of the morning, Lemma held on on Boylston Street to finish in 2 hours, 6 minutes and 17 seconds, the 10th fastest time in the race’s 128-year history. Lemma plopped down on the sidewalk and rolled onto his back, smiling, after crossing the finish line.

“Until halfway, I was running very hard and very well. But after that it got harder and harder,” said Lemma, who failed to finish twice and finished 30th in three previous attempts in Boston. “I have already abandoned the race several times. But today I won, so I redeemed myself.

Hellen Obiri defended her title, edging out Sharon Lokedi on Boylston Street to finish in 2:27:37 and win by eight seconds; Two-time Boston champion Edna Kiplagat completed the Kenyan sweep, finishing another 36 seconds back.

Obiri also won in New York last fall and is among the favorites for the Paris Olympics. She is the sixth woman to win back-to-back in Boston and the first since Catherine “the Great” Ndereba won four in six years, from 2000 to 2005.

“Defending the title was not easy. Since the creation of Boston, there have only been six women. So I said, “Can I be one of them?” If you want to be one of them, you have to work really hard,” she said. “And I’m so happy because I’m now one of them.” I am now in the history books in Boston.

Lemma, the 2021 London champion, arrived in Boston with the fastest time of the field – just the fourth person to break 2:02:00 when winning in Valencia last year. And he showed it on the course Monday, separating from the pack at Ashland and opening a lead of more than a half-mile.

Lemma ran the first half in 1:00:19, 99 seconds faster than Geoffrey Mutai’s course record pace in 2011, when his 2:03:02 was the fastest marathon in history. His fellow Ethiopian Mohamed Esa closed the gap over the final kilometers, finishing second with 41 seconds; twice Defending champion Evans Chebet was third.

Each winner collected a golden olive wreath and $150,000 from a total purse that exceeded $1 million for the first time.

On a day when sunshine and temperatures rising into the mid-60s had runners scrambling for water – drinking and throwing water overhead – Obiri ran with an unusually large lead group of 15 through Brookline before escaping in the final miles. .

Emma Bates of Boulder, Colorado, finished 12th — she second consecutive year as best American. Once again, she found herself leading the race until the 30-kilometer mark, clapping her hands as she ran past Wellesley College students chanting her name before disappearing as she exited Heartbreak Hill.

“I thought last year was incredibly loud, but this year it completely exceeded that,” Bates said. “It was a great day for the spectators. Not so pleasant for runners; it was quite hot.

CJ Albertson of Fresno, Calif., was the top American in seventh, his second top 10 finish.

Switzerland’s Marcel Hug righted himself after crashing into a barrier after taking a turn too fast and still managed to set a course record in the men’s wheelchair race. It was his seventh victory in Boston and his 14th consecutive major marathon victory.

Hug was already four minutes ahead at about 18 miles when he reached the historic fire station turn in Newton, where the course heads up Commonwealth Avenue toward Heartbreak Hill. He fell into the fencetipping sideways onto his left wheel, but quickly recovered.

“It was my fault,” Hug said. “I had too much weight, too much pressure from above on my direction, so I couldn’t lead.”

Hug completed in 1:15:33, winning by 5:04 and breaking his previous course record by 1:33. Briton Eden Rainbow-Cooper, 22, won the women’s wheelchair race in 1:35:11 for her first major marathon victory; she is the third youngest woman to win the Boston wheelchair race.

The otherwise sleepy New England town of Hopkinton celebrated its The 100th anniversary as a starting line for the world’s oldest and most prestigious marathon, sending on its way a peloton of 17 former champions and nearly 30,000 other runners. Near the finish on Boylston Street, 26 miles (42.2 kilometers) away, officials marked the anniversary of the 2013 bombing that killed three people and injured hundreds.

Sunny skies and minimal wind greeted the runners, with temperatures in the 40s as they gathered in Hopkinton, rising to 69 as stragglers crossed the finish line in the afternoon. As the peloton passed through Natick, the fourth of eight cities on the course, the athletes splashed each other with water to cool off.

“We couldn’t ask for a better day,” former New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski said, the grand marshal, before climbing into an electric car that would transport him around the course. “The City of Boston is always supportive no matter the event. The weather is perfect, the energy is bursting.

The festivities began around 6 a.m., when race director Dave McGillivray sent off about 30 members of the Massachusetts National Guard. Lt. Col. Paula Reichert Karsten, one of the marchers, said she wanted to be part of a “quintessential Massachusetts event.”

The starting line was painted to say “100 Years in Hopkinton”, commemorating Ashland’s move to Hopkinton in 1924 to conform to the official Olympic marathon distance. The announcer welcomed the crowds gathered in the “sleepy little town of Hopkinton, 364 days a year.”

“In Hopkinton, it’s probably the coolest thing in town,” said Maggie Agosto, a 16-year-old resident who went to the starting line with a friend to watch the race.

The annual Patriots’ Day race, a national holiday that commemorates the start of the Revolutionary War, also falls on One Boston Day, when the city remembers the victims of the 2013 bombings. Before the race, bagpipes accompanied Gov. Maura Healey, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and family members of the victims as they laid a pair of wreaths at the sites of the explosions.


This story corrects that Hug won his seventh victory in Boston.

Elite male runners leave the starting line of the Boston Marathon, Monday, April 15, 2024, in Hopkinton, Mass. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)


Associated Press writer Jennifer McDermott in Hopkinton contributed to this report.


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