Can these men beat Kipchoge?

The marathon world will focus its gaze on Boston on Monday as Eliud Kipchoge attempts to win his fifth different Abbott World Marathon Major.
The world record-holder continues his bid to become the first able-bodied man to win all six AbbottWMM races when he departs from the Hopkinton start line on Patriots’ Day.
Of all his victories since he collected the Bank of America Chicago Marathon title in 2014, this is perhaps the most difficult one to call. Will Kipchoge’s speed simply be too much for the rest of the field? Or will the Boston experience possessed by some of his rivals level the contest?
Up against Kipchoge are three men who know what winning Boston tastes like, and one who has beaten him in a Major before.

The field contains five winners of the six Majors in 2022, but there is no doubting the size of the task at hand. They are up against someone with a 2:01:09 PB, who also holds the course records in London, Berlin and Tokyo.
Let’s run the rule over the men bidding to topple the great man.
Evans Chebet, PB 2:03:00 (Valencia 2023)
2022 was a stellar year for Chebet. He won Boston in April, then endured the stifling heat of New York City to win his second Major of the year. In both races, Chebet displayed patience before putting his foot on the gas pedal. In Boston, his 5km time between 35 and 40km was a stunning 13:55. That’s where Kipchoge has done damage in races before, particularly in London. If he chooses the same stanza of the contest to make his move on Monday, Chebet has shown that he can handle that sort of smoke.

Benson Kipruto, PB 2:04:24 (Chicago 2022)
The 2021 Boston champion also took down Chicago in 2022. He trains alongside Chebet and hinted at Friday’s media gathering that the pair may well work together to try to nullify Kipchoge’s attacks. Kipruto’s curve has been very much upwards. His winning time in Chicago of 2:04:24 was the fastest there since 2014, and it was achieved with a late surge that was also the hallmark of his Boston victory.

Lelisa Desisa, PB 2:04:45 (Dubai 2013)
Desisa was the winner of the men’s race on that fateful day in 2013, when the events that transpired on Boylston Street rendered the results of the elite races as little more than a footnote. The Ethiopian gave his winner’s medal back to the city in a gesture of solidarity, and claimed another too keep for himself in 2015. He has not won in Boston since. He triumphed in New York City in 2018 and came second to Lawrence Cherono in a thrilling Boston sprint finish in 2019. Later that year he became world champion in the heat of Doha. This is a man who knows how to put himself into contention.

Shura Kitata, PB 2:04:49 (London 2018)
The only man in the field who knows what it feels like to beat Kipchoge. Shura Kitata won the 2020 London Marathon that took place on a small, looped course in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Kipchoge cited an inner-ear issue that affected his performance after registering an eighth-place finish. Kitata came second to Kipchoge in London in 2018, where he set his PB, and has come second twice in New York City. An experienced campaigner who will be primed to take advantage of any opportunity that presents itself.

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