This could be quick. Course record-quick.
There are 16 women in the 2023 Boston Marathon field with PBs under 2:21, which means the 2:19:59 set by Buznesh Deba in 2014 could be under threat. From former champions to highly decorated debutants, the assembled cast for the 127th running of the world’s oldest annual marathon are capable of putting on an enthralling show on Patriots’ Day.
Des Linden, who is back again, probably said it best in Friday’s press conference when she forecast that “something epic will happen on Monday.”
It would be foolish to rule Linden out after her heroics in 2018 and the potential for weather to factor again this year, but there are numerous women fancied far more to add their names to the list of winners.
Let’s take a look at five of them.
1. Can Beriso bring her speed to Boston?
Ethiopia’s Amane Beriso boasts the quickest PB in the women’s field thanks to her 2:14:58 run in Valencia in 2022. It was good enough to put her third on the all-time list and to take down the much-touted half marathon world record-holder Letesenbet Gidey on her marathon debut. The Boston course presents a vastly contrasting challenge, but Beriso has proven she can withstand a high pace and is capable of putting the screws on her rivals in the last 10km.
2. What can Edna do?
After being rightfully installed as the 2021 winner of this race following Diana Kipyokei’s anti-doping violation and six-year suspension, Edna Kiplagat is back to plant another flag in the ground for masters women everywhere. The three-time AbbottWMM series champion set a new masters record of 2:21:40 last year and could probably run this course with her eyes closed by now. Kiplagat has all the experience required to wait patiently before moving through the gears. If there’s a leader who begins to falter, she is almost always within striking distance.
3. Can Gebreslase add another title to her resumé?
Gotytom Gebreslase won the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON in 2021 on her debut at the distance. The she became world champion in 2022 and finished the year with the AbbottWMM Series XV title. She now makes her Boston debut having come second here in the half marathon and twice winning the B.A.A. 5K. Her talent is undoubted and her 2:18:11 PB – set in Eugene when she won the world title – suggests she is another strong candidate to finish inside the current course record.
4. How will Helen Obiri fair?
Here’s what we know: Helen Obiri is in extremely good shape. The late addition to the Boston field is coming in hot off a victory in the United Airlines NYC Half, where she ran a course record 67:21. That performance will give her confidence to produce a better performance than her marathon debut in the Big Apple last year where she came 10th.
She has had more time to understand the distance and is now settled in her new training set up.
5. Can Jepkosgei go one better?
Joyciline Jepkosgei came off second best in a titanic tussle last year when she lost out to winner Peres Jepchirchir on Boylston Street. Jepchirchir is not here this year to defend her title, so the London 2021 champion may sense her opportunity. With knowledge of the course and the experience of being in a one-on-one duel in those late miles, she is Boston battle-hardened and will be ready to respond to any challenge thrown down.