The great Ethiopian runner Kenenisa Bekele will run the Boston Marathon for the first time this year.
Bekele, 39, is a three-time Olympic gold medalist and the second-fastest marathoner in history. His 2:01:41, which he ran in 2019 in Berlin, is just two seconds off Eliud Kipchoge’s world record of 2:01:39.
Bekele, who ran the New York City Marathon last November and finished sixth, in 2:12:52, will be one of 12 men in the Boston field on April 18 who has run faster than 2:06. Among them are Titus Ekiru of Kenya, who last year ran 2:02:57 in Milan, the fastest time of 2021, and Benson Kipruto, who was the 2021 champion at Boston, when it was held in October instead of on its traditional April date.
Geoffrey Kamworor, 29, of Kenya, a two-time New York winner who has a personal best of 2:05:23 from the Valencia Marathon last month, will also be making his Boston debut.
Kamworor is part of Kipchoge’s training group in Kenya, but Kipchoge, who won Olympic gold in August at the Games in Sapporo, Japan, has not announced his plans for a spring marathon. He does not—yet—appear on the Boston list, but he has said in the past that he intends to run every one of the six World Marathon Major races before he retires. He still has Boston, New York, and Tokyo to go.
His manager told Athletics Weekly on January 12 that Kipchoge plans to race in March or April this year. The Tokyo Marathon is scheduled for March 5, assuming the race isn’t canceled again due to the pandemic. The London Marathon, usually in April, has been pushed to October again for 2022, another precaution due to COVID-19.
Scott Fauble, who ran his marathon best of 2:09:09 at Boston in 2019, is the fastest American entrant. But the Boston men’s race is so loaded that Fauble is only the 20th-fastest runner in the field.
He’s joined by Colin Bennie, who was the top American at Boston last October; Elkanah Kibet, who will run for the U.S. at the world championships in Eugene this summer; and CJ Albertson, who famously led the race last year for 20 miles before the pack swallowed him up.
In the wheelchair race, Marcel Hug of Switzerland, the defending champion, seeks his sixth title in seven years.
The women’s field, announced on January 11, is equally accomplished, with 12 women faster than 2:23. It includes Peres Jepchirchir, the reigning Olympic gold medalist and New York City Marathon champion, and American Molly Seidel, who won Olympic bronze.