• The San Juan Daily Star

Benson Kipruto and Diana Kipyogei win Boston after a lost year

Two first-time champions from Kenya surged to victory in the men’s and women’s races as the marathon returned for the first time since April 2019.

By Victor Mather

Benson Kipruto won the men’s race and Diana Kipyogei was the women’s winner at the Boston Marathon on Monday, held for the first time since 2019, in an unfamiliar fall setting.

Kipruto, a 30-year-old Kenyan, had won the Prague and Toronto marathons but lacked a signature victory before Monday.

C.J. Albertson, an American who was seventh in the most recent Olympic Trials and was not considered a major contender in Boston, caused a stir when he raced out to a big lead ahead of the main pack, by as much as 2 minutes 13 seconds by the halfway mark. Such early leads seldom last long, but Albertson stubbornly stayed out front for mile after mile.

But the elite runners behind him started cutting into the lead, and after 20.5 miles, that lead was gone. The 15-strong pack that caught him included major contenders Filex Kiprotich, Wilson Chebet and Asefa Mengstu. That’s when the race really began.

And the trigger was Kipruto, who put in a big surge on his own at 22 miles and seized the lead, with little resistance. He soon had a 30-second lead and pulled away with confidence. No one seemed willing to chase him, and he won going away in 2:09:51.

Ethiopians were second, third and fourth, with Lemi Berhanu second, 46 seconds behind Kipruto and just a second ahead of Jemal Yimer.

Kipyogei, also of Kenya, won in her major marathon debut. At 27, her previous biggest victory was the Istanbul Marathon.

The race followed a typical pattern, with a large lead group forming and runners gradually dropping away. The pack was still 20 strong by the halfway mark. The race didn’t really begin until 18 miles in, when Kipyogei surged ahead.

Netsanet Gudeta of Ethiopia, a former world cross-country champion, went after her and caught her within a few miles. Sometimes when a lone leader is caught in a marathon, it’s the end of the line for her. But at 24 miles, after the two had run side by side, it was Kipyogei who again took the lead.

Edna Kiplagat of Kenya, a pre-race favorite and a two-time world champion as well as a New York and Boston winner, soon caught Gudeta and gave chase to Kipyogei. She gained some time but could not close the whole gap.

Kipyogei finished her unexpected victory, in a field with many more accomplished runners, in 2:24:45.

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