Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir made a thrilling sprint to the line to win the women’s division of the 126th Boston Marathon on Monday, as fellow Kenyan Evans Chebet dominated a stellar field to win the men’s race.
With fewer than two kilometres remaining in the 42.19km (26.2-mile) contest, Jepchirchir sprinted ahead of Ababel Yeshaneh, but the Ethiopian runner refused to bow and retook the lead before the pair battled down the final stretch.
Jepchirchir, who won in New York in November, needed every ounce of energy to break the tape in two hours, 21 minutes and one second – just four seconds ahead of her rival.
“Above all, I was feeling she was strong and I pushed it, I feel I’m tired. I go behind, but I didn’t lose hope,” Jepchirchir told reporters after the victory. “The course is tough but thank God I managed to win the race.”
The 125th Boston Marathon was first postponed, then called off because of the COVID-19 pandemic — the first cancellation since the event began in 1897 — while in 2021, it was postponed until October.
On the men’s side, Kenyan Evans Chebet pulled away with about 6.4km (4 miles) to go to win the race, picking up his first major victory in two hours, six minutes and 51 seconds, with fellow Kenyans Lawrence Cherono and Benson Kipruto coming in second and third.
A huge leading pack stuck together through 35km (21 miles) before Chebet pulled away, securing an 18-second advantage over 2019 winner Cherono with 1.6km (one mile) left.