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Athletics: Kenyans Chebet and Jepchirchir win the Boston Marathon on their return to April

Lhe Kenyans Evans Chebet and Peres Jepchirchir were proclaimed winners of the Boston Marathon, in the return of the historic and iconic event to April, its original date, after two years of the pandemic (it was suspended in 2020 and was held in the fall of 2021).

It was also a marathon with overwhelming dominance for Kenya. Not only was this African country the winner in both categories, but in the boys category they took all three places on the podium, with Lawrence Cherono and Benso Kipruto, second and third, respectively. And in the end, only the Ethiopian Yeshaneh made it into the places of honor, with the Kenyan Ngugi in third position.

As if it were a mirror, the script of both tests was developed very differently. The men’s race, without huge favorites and with a large group of athletes with marks below 2.04 and 2.05, I opted for a tactical marathon, a conservative pace, with hardly any changes in the lead until the final kilometers. Ultimately, however, the story was different because Jepkosgei and Jepchirchir wanted to impose their stripes from the start.

Thus, with hardly any changes in the initial kilometers, the group arrived compactly at the men’s half marathon (1:03:24). There were subsequent attempts to launch attacks, including by Kenyan Evans Chebet, but the American Albertson only borne fruit for minutes, who was placed first to leave the group behind.

But the protagonism of the American did not last long and was quickly neutralized. Yes, Chebet. winner of the Valencia marathon in 2020 and fourth in the last London marathon, he wanted a second chance and took advantage of the proximity of a refreshment station to deal a blow that was definitive to take him straight to the finish line.

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He did it after kilometer 35 and only the Tanzanian Geay was able to follow him a few meters. Chebet starred in a brutal partial of 13:55 in the five kilometers from 35 to 40, something unattainable for the rest. The Kenyan, now I know, cleared all doubts to proclaim himself champion in Boston, the first ‘major’ of his career, with 2.06: 51.

Jepchirchir consolidates its hegemony

In short, the race had another development. The Kenyans Jepkosgei, winner in London 2021, and Jepchirchir, olympic champion and winner of last marathon in new york, quickly moved to the front of the group at kilometer 10 (34:21). And that pulse between the two was latent throughout the race. Not surprisingly, Jepkosgei was the fastest marathoner of 2021 (2.17:43) but Jepchirchir had dominated the three clashes that had occurred between the two, both in the marathon and in the half marathon.

For this reason, shortly after the start, both wanted to leave an imprint of their favoritism with a strong change of pace that left most of the rivals behind, a cadence thatThey could be followed by the Ethiopians Yeshaneh and Azimeraw, second in London last year.

In the second 10 kilometers, the leading trio – with Jepkosgei, Jepchirchir and Yeshaneh – spent two minutes less than in the first 10, something that allowed them to project at that moment a possible record of the race (2:19:59). So they remained until the final stretch.

After kilometer 35, Jepkosgei fainted. He dropped from those who had been his traveling companions, who risked victory in the last two kilometers. Ah Jepchirchir launched a long-suffering attack, which was not enough to reach the goal alone. Yeshaneh responded and that duel continued until the last meters, after more than two hours of racing.

The attacks between the two followed one another, as if it were an 800-meter race, but finally it was the Olympic champion, the dominator of the discipline in recent years, who crossed the finish line first, in 2:21:02, to add another ‘ major’ to his career and thus consolidate his status as number 1 in the distance.

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