Teshome the survivor set for Boston bow

Nine women with times under 2:20 will battle for the 128th Boston Marathon title on Patriot’s Day.

All eyes will be on Helen Obiri as she bids to win back to back Boston titles, to add to her victory in New York City last fall.

But even Obiri’s rapid rise to the top of the podium in arguably the two toughest Majors is not the most eye-catching tale among this deep field.

Indeed, among the full 30,000 strong cast of characters who will travel through the eight cities and towns that line the route, there is a strong chance that the story belonging to Tadu Teshome would take some beating by any of them.

The 22-year-old Ethiopian set her PB of 2:17:36 in Valencia in 2022, marking her out as a very real contender in the marathon distance.

She was eighth last year in London and fifth in Chicago in two races that were blown apart by the enigmatic Sifan Hassan. Now she will have to pit her wits against a group of women likely to stay together until the separator that is the Newton Hills section arrives.

Teshome, more than anyone, has a well-stocked memory box to call upon when the going gets tough.

As reported to SPN Africa, the seven-year-old Teshome was lucky to escape with her life when severe storms and flooding swept through her family home in central Ethiopia.

Thrown into a forest during the dead of night by the relentless torrent, she was able to grab a tree branch and clamber away from the fast-moving water, but she had suffered such a serious injury to her leg that doctors recommended amputation.

The advice was ignored by her mother, and her injuries healed in time. There is no question she has gone on to make the most of that courageous decision.

A string of successes over 10km and the half marathon have propelled her into the 26.2-mile rankings where her country is incredibly strong.

She was quoted last year that Boston was her No.1 in terms of races on her marathon hit list.

“It’s the world’s oldest annual marathon with so much history behind it,” she said. “I’d love to race there and challenge for the race record. I’m hoping and praying I may be invited.”

Her prayers have now been answered, and she arrives as the fastest woman in the lineup.

The likes of Obiri, the ageless Edna Kiplagat and Mary Ngugi-Cooper all boast Boston experience that often counts for so much on Patriot’s Day, but Teshome should be comfortable with the pace and is already six marathons deep despite her relatively tender years, including wins in Riyadh and Barcelona.

If her early age tribulations are anything to go by, she will not lack for the mental strength it takes to triumph in this town.

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