The 119th running of the Boston Marathon included an elite field with five past champions; Olympic and IAAF World Championships medalists; champions of 12 Abbott World Marathon Majors; and the combined winners of over 80 global marathons.
With such loaded elite fields toeing the line, spectators from Hopkinton to Boston - and fans around the world - eagerly waited for the story to unfold. The men's and women's elite fields did not disappoint: tight packs, cool temperatures and moderate early paces led to thrilling finishes on both sides.
The women's race started with several lead changes until American Desiree Linden took the reigns at 10K and pushed the pace to the 20-mile mark. At that point, Mare Dibaba of Ethiopia attempted to string out the field with a powerful surge, but several women refused to fall off the back. It wasn't until the 23-mile mark that the top three women emerged. Dibaba, Kenyan Caroline Rotich and Ethiopian Buzunesh Deba picked up the tempo and dropped the field.
With less than two miles to go, Dibaba surged. While Deba's legs failed to respond, Rotich kept pace. Dibaba and Rotich battled down Boylston Street, but Rotich's final push over the last 50 meters sealed her victory and her first World Marathon Majors win. She broke the tape first in 2:24:55. Dibaba finished a close second in 2:24:59, and Deba made it across the line in third in 2:25:09.
In the men's race, American Dathan Ritzenhein led a lead pack of a dozen runners from the 70-minute mark onward. He continued to push the pace, along with 2013 champion Lelisa Desisa and reigning champion Meb Keflezighi, until Desisa made a decisive move with just under 10K to go, breaking up the field and making it a four-man race.
Desisa traded leads with fellow Ethiopian Yemane Tsegay, while Kenyans Wilson Chebet and Wesley Korir followed just off their shoulders. With 5K to go, Desisa put in one final move, breaking Chebet and Korir, as only Tsegay stayed with him..
The two men ran stride for stride until one mile left, when Desisa put in a move that Tsegay couldn't cover, pulling away and coasting to win his second Boston Marathon title.
Desisa crossed the finish in 2:09:17, 31 seconds ahead of runner-up Tsegay in 2:09:48. Chebet finished third in 2:10:22.
Top Ten Men
1. Desisa, Lelisa (ETH) - 2:09:17
2. Tsegay, Yemane Adhane (ETH) - 2:09:48
3. Chebet, Wilson (KEN) - 2:10:22
4. Kipyego, Bernard (KEN) - 2:10:47
5. Korir, Wesley (KEN) - 2:10:49
6. Chepkwony, Frankline (KEN) - 2:10:52
7. Ritzenhein, Dathan (USA) - 2:11:20
8. Keflezighi, Meb (USA) - 2:12:42
9. Tola, Tadese (ETH) - 2:13:35
10. Shafar, Vitaliy (UKR) - 2:13:52
Top Ten Women
1. Rotich, Caroline (KEN) - 2:24:55
2. Dibaba, Mare (ETH) - 2:24:59
3. Deba, Buzunesh (ETH) - 2:25:09
4. Linden, Desiree (USA) - 2:25:39
5. Cherop, Sharon (KEN) - 2:26:05
6. Kilel, Caroline (KEN) - 2:26:40
7. Kebede, Aberu (ETH) - 2:26:52
8. Demise, Shure (ETH)- 2:27:14
9. Flanagan, Shalane (USA) - 2:27:47
10. Chepkirui, Joyce (KEN) - 2:29:07
About Abbott World Marathon Majors
The Tokyo, Boston, Virgin Money London, BMW BERLIN, Bank of America Chicago, and TCS New York City Marathons together represent the Abbott World Marathon Majors and serve as Qualifying Races. In the years in which they are run, the Series also includes the IAAF World Championships and Olympic Marathons. At the conclusion of each Series cycle, a $1 million prize purse is divided equally between the top male and female marathoners in the world as determined by points earned in Qualifying Races. The inaugural 2006-2007 WMM Series was launched at the 110th Boston Marathon on April 17, 2006, and concluded at the New York City Marathon on Nov. 4, 2007. The Tokyo Marathon became a Qualifying Race in October 2012, and the 2013-2014 series, the WMM's eighth two-year series, began with the Tokyo Marathon on Feb. 24, 2013, and concluded at the TCS New York City Marathon on Nov. 2, 2014. The first Abbott World Marathon Majors series, titled AWMM Series IX, began at the Tokyo Marathon 2015 and will conclude after completion of the Tokyo Marathon 2016.
VIRGIN MONEY LONDON MARATHON
BANK OF AMERICA CHICAGO MARATHON
TCS NEW YORK CITY MARATHON