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Kenya’s Benson Kipruto and Diana Kipyogei win long-delayed 125th Boston Marathon


After a 30-month absence, the 125th Boston Marathon took place Monday in the Massachusetts capital with Kenya’s Benson Kipruto and Diana Kipyogei capturing the men’s and women’s titles, respectively. 

Kipruto, who took 10th in the 124th Boston Marathon in 2019, finished in 2 hours, 9 minutes, and 51 seconds to claim the $150,000 first prize. Lemi Berhanu, the 2016 winner, finished second 46 seconds behind Kipruto.  

The race took on a different feel, Monday, with fall foliage replacing the spring daffodils and more masks than mylar blankets. A rolling start and shrunken field allowed for social distancing on the course, as organizers tried to manage amid a changing COVID-19 pandemic that forced them to cancel the race last year for the first time since the event began in 1897.

‘It’s a great feeling to be out on the road,’ race director Dave McGillivray said. ‘Everyone is excited. We’re looking forward to a good day.’

A light rain greeted participants at the Hopkinton Green, where about 30 uniformed members of the Massachusetts National Guard left at 6am. The men’s and women’s wheelchair racers — some of whom completed the 26.2-mile (42.2 km) distance in Chicago a day earlier — left shortly after 8am, followed by the men’s and women’s professional fields.

‘We took things for granted before COVID-19. It’s great to get back to the community and it puts things in perspective,’ said National Guard Captain Greg Davis, 39, who was walking with the military group for the fourth time. ‘This is a historic race, but today is a historic day.’ 

To manage the spread of the coronavirus, runners had to show proof that they’re vaccinated or test negative for COVID-19. Organizers also re-engineered the start so runners in the recreational field of more than 18,000 weren’t waiting around in crowded corrals for their wave to begin; instead, once they get off the bus in Hopkinton they can go.

After a 30-month absence, the 125th Boston Marathon took place Monday in the Massachusetts capital with Kenya's Benson Kipruto (left) and Diana Kipyogei (right) capturing the men's and women's titles, respectively

After a 30-month absence, the 125th Boston Marathon took place Monday in the Massachusetts capital with Kenya’s Benson Kipruto (left) and Diana Kipyogei (right) capturing the men’s and women’s titles, respectively

Elite women's runner Diana Kipyogei of Kenya, left, breaks from the start in the center of the pack in the Boston Marathon

Elite women’s runner Diana Kipyogei of Kenya, left, breaks from the start in the center of the pack in the Boston Marathon

The elite runners race in a pack during the 2021 Boston Marathon, which had been delayed 30 months by the pandemic

The elite runners race in a pack during the 2021 Boston Marathon, which had been delayed 30 months by the pandemic 

Spectators cheer from along the course during the 2021 Boston Marathon. One sign reads 'Not even COVID can stop you'

Spectators cheer from along the course during the 2021 Boston Marathon. One sign reads ‘Not even COVID can stop you’ 

Benson Kipruto (pictured), who took 10th in the 124th Boston Marathon in 2019, finished in 2 hours, 9 minutes, and 51 seconds to claim the $150,000 first prize. Lemi Berhanu, the 2016 winner, finished second 46 seconds behind Kipruto

Benson Kipruto (pictured), who took 10th in the 124th Boston Marathon in 2019, finished in 2 hours, 9 minutes, and 51 seconds to claim the $150,000 first prize. Lemi Berhanu, the 2016 winner, finished second 46 seconds behind Kipruto

Despite making a wrong turn in the final mile, Marcel Hug (pictured) of Switzerland won the men's wheelchair race at the pandemic-delayed Boston Marathon on Monday, finishing the slightly detoured course in 1 hour, 8 minutes, 11 seconds — just seven seconds off his record pace. Hug, who has raced Boston eight times and has five victories here, cost himself a $50,000 course record bonus when he missed the second-to-last turn, following the lead vehicle instead of turning from Commonwealth Avenue onto Hereford Street

Despite making a wrong turn in the final mile, Marcel Hug (pictured) of Switzerland won the men’s wheelchair race at the pandemic-delayed Boston Marathon on Monday, finishing the slightly detoured course in 1 hour, 8 minutes, 11 seconds — just seven seconds off his record pace. Hug, who has raced Boston eight times and has five victories here, cost himself a $50,000 course record bonus when he missed the second-to-last turn, following the lead vehicle instead of turning from Commonwealth Avenue onto Hereford Street

‘I love that we’re back to races across the country and the world,’ said Doug Flannery, a 56-year-old Illinois resident who was waiting to start his sixth Boston Marathon. ‘It gives people hope that things are starting to come back.’  

Despite making a wrong turn in the final mile, Marcel Hug of Switzerland won the men’s wheelchair race at the pandemic-delayed Boston Marathon on Monday, finishing the slightly detoured course in 1 hour, 8 minutes, 11 seconds — just seven seconds off his record pace.

Hug, who has raced Boston eight times and has five victories here, cost himself a $50,000 course record bonus when he missed the second-to-last turn, following the lead vehicle instead of turning from Commonwealth Avenue onto Hereford Street.

Manuela Schär, also from Switzerland, won the women’s wheelchair race in 1:35:20.

‘The car went straight and I followed the car,’ said Hug, who finished second in the Chicago Marathon by 1 second on Sunday. ‘But it’s my fault. I should go right, but I followed the car.’ 

Kenya’s Lawrence Cherono and Worknesh Degefa of Ethiopia did not return to defend their 2019 titles, but 13 past champions and five Tokyo Paralympic gold medal winners were in the professional fields.

Held annually since a group of Bostonians returned from the 1896 Athens Olympics and decided to stage a marathon of their own, the race has occurred during World Wars and even the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. But it was first postponed, then canceled last year, then postponed from the spring in 2021.

It’s the first time the event hasn’t been held in April as part of the Patriots’ Day holiday that commemorates the start of the Revolutionary War. To recognize Indigenous Peoples Day, race organizers honored 1936 and ’39 winner Ellison ‘Tarzan’ Brown and three-time runner-up Patti Catalano Dillon, a member of the Mi’kmaq tribe. 

Police were visible all along the course as authorities vowed to remain vigilant eight years after the bombings that killed three spectators and maimed hundreds of others on Boylston Street near the Back Bay finish line.

But the crowds lining the course as it wends through eight cities and towns were expected to be smaller. Wellesley College students have been told not to kiss the runners as they pass the school’s iconic ‘scream tunnel’ near the halfway mark.



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Written by Bourbiza Mohamed

A technology enthusiast and a passionate writer in the field of information technology, cyber security, and blockchain

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