Obiri speeds to win in second marathon

Hellen Obiri has arrived on the marathon scene.

In her second attempt at the distance, the two-time 5,000m world champion showed that she can apply her track talent to the toughest distance of them all and emerge victorious as she powered to the 2023 Boston Marathon title.

The women’s race on a damp day in Massachusetts took a while to catch fire as a large group tapped out a steady pace in the early miles of a race that was loaded with ability.

Facing the likes of former London and New York champion Joyciline Jepkosgei and world champion and defending AbbottWMM Series champion Gotytom Gebreslase, Obiri kept herself tucked in as the miles ticked by, displaying her patience and trusting that her speed would count in the final reckoning.

She may not have anticipated a challenge from the American Emma Bates, who took up the front-running between 19 and 23 miles but could not sustain her bid to become the first American woman to win here since Des Linden in 2018.

It was left to Lonah Salpeter to lead them into the final mile. The Israeli, who had done much of the spade work earlier on, was no match for the charge of Obiri, however, who tore away with less than a mile to go to seal victory in 2:21:38.

As a late addition to the race following her course record at the NYC Half in March, Obiri said he had hesitated before deciding to throw her hat in the ring for Boston.

“I didn’t want to come here,” she said. “But my coach said I should try and go to Boston. I told him to give me some time to make up my mind. Then I said yes, I can do it.

“I know Boston is a tough course. But it is also an open field and maybe nobody wanted to go in front. I said ‘maybe I’m just going to try to pull something off’.”

Amane Beriso claimed second in 2:21:50 with Salpeter third in 2:21:57. Ababel Yeshaneh ran 2:22:00 for fourth with Bates fifth in 2:22:10.

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