After a cancellation and postponement due to coronavirus, the Boston Marathon was finally held on October 11. 20,000 entrants took to the streets of Beantown hoping for personal bests and almost 20,000 more competed virtually, making it the largest Boston Marathon field ever.
Here are the highlights from the 125th Boston Marathon, including men’s and women’s winners, wrong turns, standout races, and more.
Diana Kipyokei Wins Her First World Major Marathon
Kenyan Diana Kipyokei, in her World Major Marathon debut, took down four previous Boston Marathon champions to win in 2:24:45. Kipyokei ran a big negative split after going through 13.1 miles in 1:14:11.
Previous champion Edna Kiplagat took second place, which is the 41-year-old’s 10th World Major Marathon podium finish in her storied career. Mary Ngugi rounded out the top three with a 2:25:20 finishing time. Nell Rojas ran a personal best of 2:27:12 to finish sixth, taking home top American honors.
Benson Kipruto Outlasts the Pack
Benson Kipruto broke away from the pack in the final kilometers to take the men’s race in 2:09:51. The 30-year-old Kenyan continues a strong year of racing, as he also won the Prague Marathon on May 30.
Ethiopians Lemi Berhanu and Jemal Yimer battled down the final stretch on Bolyston to determine the remaining podium finishes. Berhanu, a former Boston Marathon champion, ended up taking second (2:10:37 with Yimer finishing third (2:10:38).
CJ Albertson Takes a Risk, Gets Top-10 Finish
Today at the Boston Marathon, he aimed to add a new item to his list of achievements—winning the Boston Marathon. He took the lead immediately after the start and held onto it for nearly three-quarters of the race. At one point, he was ahead of the pack by over 2 minutes.
Although the pack caught and eventually passed him after 20 miles, Albertson managed to hang on to run 2:11:44 for a 10th place finish. Colin Bennie, of Princeton, Massachusetts, ended up as the top American, finishing in 2:11:26.
Marcel Hug Misses Course Record by Seconds
Swiss Paralympian Marcel Hug took home his fifth Boston Marathon title, but the win is bittersweet as he missed breaking his own course record by just a few seconds. Focused on finishing hard, Hug missed the crucial final turn onto Boylston Street. He had to turn around, costing him valuable time and momentum, in order to correct his mistake. He ended up finishing in 1:18:11, seconds above his record set in 2017.
Schar Defends Her Boston Title
Manuela Schar won her second Boston Marathon in three years, after taking the victory at the last in-person event in 2019. She finished in 1:35:21, nearly 15 minutes faster than the next racer, Tatyana McFadden.
McFadden’s second-place finish completed back-to-back World Major Marathons, as she won the Chicago Marathon on Sunday.
Honoring Indigenous Peoples’ Day
There has been some controversy about the Boston Athletic Association hosting the Boston Marathon on Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
Usually, the Boston Marathon is held in April on Patriots’ Day, a Monday that is a holiday for the city. But with the 125th running moved to October because of COVID-19, its new date fell on October 11, which is also Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
After coaxing from the Indigenous Peoples’ Day Newton Committee and others in the Boston community, the Boston Athletic Association shared how it would honor the holiday in a press release in August. The release mentioned an acknowledgement of the Indigenous homelands that the race passes through, a donation to Indigenous Peoples’ Day Newton Committee, and a celebration of historic Indigenous finishers of the marathon—including Ellison “Tarzan” Brown of the Narragansett tribe who helped coin the term Heartbreak Hill.
On October 8, Boston police investigated a potential protest that could disrupt the marathon, but no disruptions have yet been reported.
Danica Patrick and Other Notable Runners Finish Boston Strong
Danica Patrick turned from car racing to marathon racing, completing the Boston course in 4:01:21. Patrick, who retired from NASCAR in 2018, decided to sign up with her sister and their friend.
Patrick ran to raise money for the Light Foundation, a nonprofit founded by Super Bowl Champion Matt Light and his wife, Susie, dedicated to helping students from underserved areas develop skills and values to help them build their futures.
Other celebrities that finished Boston today include Broadway actor Brian d’Arcy James, who ran 3:30:22, and former New England Patriot James Develin, who finished in 4:27:17.
Chris Nikic, the first person with Down Syndrome to complete an Ironman, finished in 6:01:22 for his first Boston Marathon. He will compete in the New York City Marathon on November 7.
Shalane Flanagan Finishes Major Marathon Number Four
After running the Chicago Marathon yesterday, Shalane Flanagan finished in 2:40:34 at Boston. It was the fourth race in her quest to complete all six marathon majors in 42 days.
Next up for Flanagan is the Tokyo Marathon on October 17, which will be virtual this year following the race’s postponement to March 2022. Flanagan’s times so far are quite impressive:
- Berlin: 2:38:32
- London: 2:35:04
- Chicago: 2:46:39
- Boston: 2:40:34
Golden Retriever Survives Tumor to Once Again Cheer on Marathoners
After 2018’s Boston Marathon, an unlikely star made waves across the Internet. A golden retriever named Spencer held Boston Strong flags in his mouth to cheer on runners pushing through the cold and wet conditions. In 2019, he returned to the same spot again.
But in 2020, the Boston Marathon was canceled due to COVID-19. Instead of being on the sidelines, Spencer was in surgery having a tumor removed.
Despite the difficulty of the procedure, Spencer pulled through. This morning, two and a half years since his last Boston Marathon, he took his rightful place between miles two and three.
—This story will be updated.