Kenya’s Lawrence Cherono won a race for the ages at the 2019 Boston Marathon as he pipped Ethiopian Lelisa Desisa on the finish line.
The pair were side by side with Cherono’s compatriot Kenneth Kipkemoi also in contention as they rounded the final bend for the last charge along Boylston Street, and it was Cherono who found the strength to outlast the New York City champion as Kipkemoi fell away.
The contest saw a large group stay intact deep into the race, with Americans Jared Ward and Scott Fauble often muscling their way to the front to push things along.
Torrential rain and high winds prior to the start had threatened to play havoc with the field, much like 2018, but conditions improved soon after the gun for the race to unfold with the expected favourites to the fore.
2017 champion Geoffrey Kirui was another name prominent until the late miles when Cherono, Desisa and Kipkemoi finally managed to shake off the rest of the pack. They stuck together into the final mile, and the smart money may justifiably have been on the Ethiopian given the manner in which he had won in New York just over four months ago.
But he could not beat Cherono to the tape in his bid to regain the crown he had won in 2013 and 2015.
Cherono moves into contention in the Abbott World Marathon Majors Series XII leaderboard, but Desisa’s second place here means he moves clear in first place on 41 points.
With the Virgin Money London Marathon just around the corner, it will fall to Eliud Kipchoge and Mo Farah, both on 25 points, to try to overhaul Desisa with a first or second place on The Mall.
The women’s race provided no such finish line drama as Worknesh Degefa pulled clear early on and never looked back.
The Ethiopian was making her Majors debut, and had even foregone the chance to recce Boston’s notorious hills ahead of the race. But it mattered not as she stretched out to a three-minute lead at one stage of the race.
That pace told on her in the second half, and it was left to veteran and 2017 champion Edna Kiplagat to conduct a one-woman chase. The 39-year-old narrowed the deficit to under a minute by the finish, but ran out of tarmac to complete the catch.
Degefa had come into the race having won Dubai in January and boasted the fastest PB of the field. Having confirmed her credentials on Boston’s unforgiving course she must now be considered a key player on the AbbottWMM circuit.
For now, she joins Gladys Cherono, Mary Keitany and Brigid Kosgei on 25 points, all of them chasing Ruti Aga on 41.
You can find the report on the 2019 Boston Marathon wheelchair races here.