RunBlogRun will cover the 128th Boston Marathon LIVE on-site and remotely on Monday, April 15, 2024. This is the preview from our senior writer in Kenya, Justin Lagat. Justin is a keen observer of the sport and provides for the readers of RunBlogRun, as he has for the past decade, an insider’s view of the sport of athletics in Kenya.

I finally met Justin this past summer in Budapest and enjoyed our conversations immensely. Please enjoy this column! 

On Monday, April 15th, Hellen Obiri and Evans Chebet will aim to repeat a Kenyan double victory in the 128th edition of the Boston Marathon.

However, the race organizers have assembled some of the most formidable competitors in the world this time, and it will be an uphill task for the two defending champions to successfully defend their titles.

Hellen Obiri, Bank of America Boston Marathon
Press Conference and Elite availability, photo by Kevin Morris

To demonstrate the depth of the competition, Obiri, for example, ranks 16th among the women with the fastest personal best times on the elite start list. However, one could argue that Obiri’s times were posted on the relatively more challenging courses of Boston and New York and that we are yet to know how fast she can run on a fast marathon course.

Hiwott Gebremaryam, Bank of America Boston Marathon
Press Conference and Elite availability, photo by Kevin Morris

The fastest on the list are two Ethiopians: Tadu Teshome, with 2:17:36 from the Valencia marathon in 2022, and Hiwot Gebremaryam, with 2:17:59 from the Valencia marathon last year.

Elite Women Athletics, Bank of America Boston Marathon
Press Conference and Elite availability, photo by Kevin Morris

Another contender, Sharon Lokedi, the 2022 New York City Marathon champion, is named in the Kenyan provisional marathon team of six for the Paris Olympics. The list will be shortlisted further ahead of the Olympics, and her chances of being included in the final start list will partly depend on her performance here in Boston. Beating Obiri will boost her profile, as the scores between them now stand 1-1. At the 2022 NYC race, Obiri had finished 6th. But Obiri won the 2023 race, where Lokedi finished 3rd.

Evans Chebet, on the men’s side, will aim to achieve a hat-trick after he won the last two consecutive titles in 2022 and 2023.

Evans Chebet, Bank of America Boston Marathon
Press Conference and Elite availability, photo by Kevin Morris

But it won’t be that easy with Sisay Lemma, the third fastest marathon runner in history with a Personal best time of 2:01:48 on the start list. Lemma has competed against Chebet three times in the marathon, with Chebet emerging top in two of the races. However, Lemma’s best time happened less than five months ago, which could mean he is now at the peak of his marathon career.

Sisay Lemma, Bank of America Boston Marathon
Press Conference and Elite availability, photo by Kevin Morris

Tanzania’s Gabriel Geay will be the other big threat to Chebet. The 27-year-old, who holds the Tanzanian record at 2:03:00, has been slowly closing the gap on Chebet in their recent races in Boston. Geay was 4th in 2022 and close last year in 2nd place. There will be no more space for him to reduce that gap further this year except to overtake Chebet.

Bank of America Boston Marathon
Press Conference and Elite availability, photo by Kevin Morris

​ 

 

 

By