is complete after 30 months
With fall foliage replacing the blooming daffodils and mylar blankets sharing space with masks, the pandemic-delayed Boston Marathon returned Monday after a 30-month absence for a smaller, socially distanced race that ended in a very familiar way.
Benson Kipruto and Diana Kipyogei completed a Kenyan sweep – the eighth since 2000 at the world’s oldest and most prestigious 26.2-miler, which moved from its traditional spring date for the first time in its 125-year history because of the coronavirus outbreak. We were hurt, and we were wounded. “Now is the comeback story,” stated 2014 winner Mebkeflezighi. She shared grand marshal duties alongside hospital workers who were affected by the pandemic. “Hopefully this is an example that post-pandemic, life is getting back to normal.”
Although organizers put runners through COVID-19 protocols and asked spectators to keep their distance, there were still sizable crowds in spots from Hopkinton to Boston after an early drizzle cleared and temperatures rose into the 60s.
Participants in the field of 18,000 – down from more than 30,000 in pre-pandemic days – needed to test negative for the coronavirus or prove they were vaccinated before picking up their bib numbers. The organizers required masks indoors in Boston as well as on buses to the starting point. They were also handed out with finishers’ medals on Boylston Street.
The race started earlier than usual and was conducted with a roll-off in order to avoid crowding at the corrals or on the course.
The Kenyans were not affected by any of these changes.
” There’s nothing different about the course,” said Mr. Kipruto.
A winner in Prague and Athens who finished 10th in Boston in 2019, Mr. Kipruto broke away from the lead pack as it turned onto Beacon Street with about three miles to go and broke the tape in 2 hours, 9 minutes, 51 seconds. Lemi Berhanu, who won the race in 2016, was second, 46 seconds back; Colin Bennie of Princeton, Massachusetts, was the top American, in seventh.
Ms. Kipyogei claimed the women’s title, a gilded olive wreath and the $150,000 first prize, finishing in 2: 24: 45 in her major marathon debut. Edna Kipligat, the 2017 winner, was second, 23 seconds behind.
Marcel Hug won the men’s wheelchair race despite making a wrong turn in the final mile, finishing the slightly detoured route just seven seconds off his course record in 1: 08: 11. Manuela Schar, also from Switzerland, won the women’s wheelchair race in 1: 35: 21.
Mr. 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.
” “At this moment, I’m really upset,” stated Mr. Hug finished second at the Chicago Marathon, by one second. CJ Albertson led the Chicago Marathon by two minutes. Mr. Kipruto, however, waited for an earlier breakaway. He was leading by two minutes at half-way. However, he slowed down in Newton Hills, and lost ground to Boston College. Mr. Albertson, who is the world record-holder in the 50K (42.2 miles), finished 10th.
A Fresno, California, native, Mr. Albertson said he tried to keep things interesting during the pandemic by binging on Peloton classes; he finished atop the leaderboard 57 times and also set a record by running a 2: 09 marathon on the treadmill. I was bored, unmotivated and trying to find something else to do. He said that he had made up the whole thing. It was an amazing day. This was an amazing day.”
Recreational runners streamed across the Back Bay finish line into the afternoon, turning to the sidewalks and pumping their arms to prompt the thinner crowds alongside the course to cheer.
On Boylston Street there were many spectators lined up shoulder-to-shoulder. Boston does not require masks. Some said they weren’t concerned about COVID-19 since they were vaccinated and outside.
A rolling start allowed for social distancing as the organizers attempted to control a changing pandemic. They had to cancel last year’s race after a group from Boston returned from the 1896 Athens Olympics.
The race survived through World Wars, and the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic. It was initially postponed and then cancelled last year. Then it was moved to the spring in 2021..
This is the first year that the event was not held during Patriots Day, which commemorates the beginning 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.
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, the first Native American cabinet member, ran the race to commemorate the holiday, with Boston Athletic Association President Tom Grilk personally awarding her finishing medal after she crossed in 4: 58: 54.
Other celebrities also participated: Hamilton co-star Brian d’Arcy James finished in 3: 30: 22, and race car driver Danica Patrick ran a time of 4: 01: 21. Ben Beach completed his 54th consecutive Boston Marathon – the longest active streak – finishing in 5: 47: 27.
Police could be seen along the course. This was eight years since the explosions on Boylston Street, near the Back Bay finish line.
A light rain greeted participants at the Hopkinton Green, where about 30 uniformed members of the Massachusetts National Guard were the first to leave, at 6 a.m. The men’s and women’s wheelchair racers – some of whom completed the 26.2-mile distance in Chicago a day earlier – left shortly after 8 a.m., followed by the men’s and women’s professional fields.
“We took things for granted before COVID-19. “It’s wonderful to give back to the community, and it helps put things into perspective,” stated Capt. National Guard. Greg Davis was walking for the fourth consecutive time with the military group. “This is a historic race, but today is a historic day.”
This story was reported by The Associated Press.