Six things we love about Boston’s elite field

The Boston Marathon unleashed a barrage of big news this week as we begin to look forward to an action-packed autumn of AbbottWMM racing.

Here are the six huge highlights from our friends in Massachusetts.

1. Equal course record prize money
The 2021 race will award equal course record bonuses across its open and wheelchair divisions for the first time in the race’s 125-year history. That means athletes setting new marks for the famous old course in either category will receive $50,000 each.

2. A new prize purse
The race will also become the first event to provide a designated prize purse for athletes with upper limb, lower limb, and visual impairments. All great news for inclusion and equality.

3. The return of the Citizen
We can’t wait to see Yuki Kawauchi back in Boston. The man dubbed The Citizen Runner splashed his way into the history books in 2018 with his shock victory in those awful conditions, becoming the first Japanese Boston champion since Toshihiko Seko in 1987.

4. Boston’s Kenyan queen

Edna Kiplagat is pure marathon running royalty, and the people lining the streets of the eight towns and cities know it. She is 41 now, but the 2017 Boston champion is still capable of pulling off an incredible performance in a town she loves. In her last visit in 2019, she almost ran down eventual winner Worknesh Degefa with a stunning last 5km of 16:05, cutting a gap of three minutes to less than one.

5. Des Linden

We already knew Desiree Linden was running the 2021 Boston Marathon, but who doesn’t want to see this again? After years of trying, including an agonizing second place in 2011, 2018 was her time.

6. The wheelchair race will be intense

The lineup in the men’s and women’s wheelchair races is the very definition of world class. On the men’s side, reigning champ Daniel Romanchuk takes on Marcel Hug and Ernst van Dyk, who boast 14 Boston wins between them, and had a rare old ding-dong on the home straight in 2017.

For the women, the two best athletes the sport has ever seen will do battle once again. Decorated Paralympian and winner of 23 Majors Tatyana McFadden will face current women’s wheelchair Series champion Manuela Schär, who won the 2019 edition of this race as part of a nine-race winning streak, and set a world best on the course in 2017 with 1:28:17.