The Kenyans are back in Boston after a relative lull that saw them shut out in the world’s most prestigious marathon twice in the past 3 years.
Geoffrey Kirui won the 121st Boston Marathon on Monday, pulling away from 3-time U.S. Olympian Galen Rupp with 3.2 kilometers (2) miles to go to give Kenya its first men’s victory in 5 years.
Edna Kiplagat won the women’s race to complete the Kenyan sweep.
Kirui finished in 2 hours, 9 minutes, 37 seconds to claim a silver trophy, a guilded olive wreath from Marathon, Greece, and the US$150,000 first prize.
Kiplagat finished in 2:21:52 to win her Boston debut, adding the victory to 2 world championships and wins in London, New York and Los Angeles. She pulled ahead of fellow Kenyan Rose Chelimo, in the Newton hills to win by 59 seconds.
Kenya had won either the men’s or women’s race every year since 1991 before being shut out in 2014 and again last year. In fact, Kenya had taken both titles 6 times since 2000, so dominating the top 10 that Boylston Street began to look like a Great Rift Valley training run.
But Ethiopia has surpassed its East African neighbors on Patriots’ Day the past 4 years, earning its first sweep in 2016. Then, in December, Kenyan Rita Jeptoo was stripped of her 2014 title for failing a drug test and it was handed instead to Ethiopia’s Buzunesh Deba.
For Kirui, even when he was running shorter distances, he had his eye on Boston.
“In my mind, I was sure that one day I would win this race,” said Kirui, 25, who was running just his 3rd marathon. “To come here to Boston, I knew I was going to face my colleagues who have run many times here. I knew I would challenge some of the champions who have been competing here.”
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press