In an eventful finish that ranks among the best in recent Boston Marathon history, Atsede Baysa and Lemi Berhanu Hayle of Ethiopia broke away from the pack late to earn titles at the 2016 Patriots' Day tradition.
Baysa was trailing by more than 30 seconds at mile-marker 22 before turning on the jets down the stretch. She took the lead by the 23rd mile and scampered away for an unofficial winning time of two hours, 29 minutes, 19 seconds. With the conditions slowing down time a bit, Baysa's time is more than four minutes slower than Caroline Rotich's official winning speed in 2015.
|Top Men's Finishers|
|1||Lemi Berhanu Hayle||2:12:45|
|3||Yemane Adhane Tsegay||2:14:02|
Hayle spent most of his day battling defending champion Lelisa Desisa. Desisa and Stephen Chebogut paced the field as late as the 22nd mile before Hayle started turning things on. He cleared himself of Desisa by the time he hit the final mile.
Hayle crossed the finish line with an unofficial time of 2:12:45, more than three minutes off Desisa's time from 2015. Desisa was attempting to win his third Boston Marathon in the past four years and would have been the first men's back-to-back winner since Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot, who won three straight in 2006-08.
Instead, Desisa had to settle for a second-place finish. Hayle outpaced his countryman by 47 seconds, and Yemane Adhane Tsegay came in third place with a time of 2:14:02. Five of the six runners who stood on the podium represented Ethiopia.
|Top Women's Finishers|
|6||Flomena Cheyech Daniel||2:33:40|
|9||Neely Spence Gracey||2:35:00|
"Even if you don't win, just the fact that you are contending against others is itself a good thing," Desisa recently told Sabrina Yohannes of Run Blog Run. "You realize what kinds of competitors there are. You ask yourself: Where am I? How do I beat him? What must I do? What do I lack? ... You think about that, and you push forward."
Baysa was joined by second-place finisher Tirfi Tsegaye, who came in with a time of 2:30:03. Joyce Chepkirui of Kenya rounded out the top three.
Baysa's victory breaks a five-year winning streak of Kenyan runners in Boston. She won the first Saitama International Marathon in November and has been trending upward among the world's best women marathoners.
Hayle, meanwhile, may be preparing himself for a long career atop the marathon circuit. At age 21, he's five years younger than Desisa and may provide his countryman with a rival for a long time. This is the first time since 2012 that both the men and women winners were below the age of 30.
On the American side, this was more of a low-key marathon. Meb Keflezighi and Shalane Flanagan, arguably the top two marathoners who represent the United States, did not participate due to their Olympic commitments. American runners had to choose between the Boston Marathon and February's Olympic trials, with most choosing the latter.
"They are getting the full experience here in a big-time major marathon," Flanagan said of younger runners participating in Boston, per Rich Thompson of the Boston Herald. "This is quite a big one for both of them to get into, but it is better for them to get the exposure of these big meets and perform and get used to it. It is exciting to see these younger women coming into these really big marathons."
Neely Spence Gracey was the top-finishing American woman in ninth place. Zachary Hine came in 10th among men to be tops among all U.S. runners.
In the wake of the 2013 marathon bombings, organizers have increased security at the race, with plainclothes officers and a number of other measures being taken to avoid another tragedy.