Sports editor Callie Hummel discusses the stats and stories of the winners.
On Monday, April 18, runners from across the world congregated in Boston, Massachusetts, to participate in the 126th Boston Marathon. Kenyan runners Evan Chebet and Peres Jepchirchir placed first in the men’s and women’s categories, respectively.
The Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest annual marathon race. It began in 1897 after the new marathon event in the 1896 Summer Olympics found great success and support. From then on, the Boston Marathon has been a major event every year.
Unlike most marathons, participants have to run a qualifying race in order to compete in Boston. Qualifying times differ depending on age groups, and one must be over 18 to compete. For runners between the ages of 18 and 34, men must run 3:00.00, and women 3:30.00 at a registered marathon the year prior to the Boston Marathon. The average 30,000 registered participants haven’t all been subject to the qualifying times though, as there are also runners who can enter with partners. One-fifth of the marathon’s spots are held for charities, sponsors, municipal officials and local running clubs.
In addition to the 30,000 runners, the race usually attracts around 50,000 spectators as well. This number greatly increases later on in the race when the Red Sox game ends. It’s been a tradition for the Boston Red Sox to play a day-game that starts before the Marathon, so when the game ends, baseball fans flood out into the streets to cheer on the marathoners as they finish the route. These traditions were put on pause in 2020 and postponed in 2021, but finally were able to return to normal in 2022.
Chebet ended the race with a 2:06.51 time, coming in a whole 15 seconds before the second-place runner, as he gained distance on the final downhill stretch. The main difference with the Boston Marathon and other marathons participants might have run prior are the great hills throughout the city. Runners must keep up a solid pace, but still preserve energy to make the steep climbs, even in the 25th mile.
Jepchirchir has had a major few years, winning gold at her debut Olympics in Tokyo and coming in first at the 2021 New York Marathon. Jepchirchir now has another medal to add to her collection. Jepchirchir took home a major win this year in Boston, and in 2:21.01, became the third-fastest time in event history. At 28 years old she is the first athlete to win the Olympic marathon, the New York City Marathon and the Boston Marathon. She has also broken three half-marathon world records.
The win didn’t come easily to Jepchirchir though. In the final mile, there was a sprint between the two runners, Jepchirchir and Yeshaneh, and the leader switched eight times before Jepchirchir pulled out in front to run through the finish tape. The incredible last mile sprint between the two women runners was a perfect event to celebrate the 50th anniversary of women officially being able to enter the race. In the first year, 1971, only 8 women ran. In 2022, there were 12,100.