Kenya’s Caroline Rotich lived up to her billing to win the 119th Boston Marathon run last night.
Her win, which comes against a backdrop of dope scandals that bedeviled defending champion Rita Jeptoo, offered a sigh of relief for Kenya’s bulging athletic talent.
Rotich, who was born in Nyahururu and who will celebrate her 31st birthday on May 15, set the stage for Kenyans at the 35th Virgin London Marathon on Sunday.
It was particularly sweet victory for Rotich, who atoned for dropping out of 2012 Boston Marathon before finishing fourth in Tokyo Marathon last year.
She won in 2:24.55 ahead of Mare Dibaba (2:24.59) and Buzunesh Deba (2:25.09).
“When I saw the finish line, I could not let it go. I feared that Ethiopians would win it. It was a tough race But I was still strong,” Rotich told reporters after the race.
For the second time, Ethiopia pulled a fast one on the Kenyans as Lelisa Dedisa, the 2013 winner, chalked up victory in 2:09.17, which is six minutes and 17 seconds slower than Geoffrey Mutai’s course record of 2:03.02.
The Boston Marathon run, which is among the ‘Big Six’ races in the World Marathon Majors series, offered enough fodder to set the traditional Ethiopia versus Kenya rivalry wagging.
Until last evening, Kenya had won 31 titles in the race –20 (men) and 11 (women) – standing in second place behind top winners USA, who have 60 titles in 45 men and 15 women’s titles. Ethiopia have eight titles to their credit.
It was an exciting moment in the North Rift –Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo Marakwet and Nandi counties – the spiritual home of global athletics as athletics stars and fans alike watched the world’s oldest marathon that entered into its 119th edition last night.
In Eldoret, the fans assembled at Shakers Restaurant while others watched the race in Tortoise Hotel in Kapsabet.
At 27 minutes, Tadese Tola and Tsegaye stormed into the lead as Ethiopia’s defending champion Meb Keflezighi, two-time world champion Abel Kirui, 2013 winner Lesisa Dedisa alongside reigning Amsterdam Marathon winner Bernard Kipyego stuck in tow.
Ethiopians and Kenyans went on exchanging the lead, raising anxiety on the race tactics the Kenyan northern rivals had in store for the final sprint.
At half-way, 2011 winner Caroline Kilel opened a 10-metre lead amid intense push among the chasing pack as they crossed the 20km mark in 1:09. Kirui then fell back mid-way as Wesley Korir, the Cherangany MP and 2012 winner, surged forward as Bernard Kipyego, third in Boston Marathon in 2012, responded. In the women’s front, 2011 winner Caroline Kilel and 2011 Gothenburg marathon winner Joyce Chepkirui made tactical moves in the initial stages but finally ran out of gas mid-way through. Rotich employed an electric pace to win the race in 2:24.55 ahead of Marie Dibaba.
Courtesy of standardmedia.co.ke