126th Boston Marathon Proves Thrilling to the Finish Line

Zeno Minotti, Sports Editor

The 126th Boston Marathon was monumental before it even began. It was the first time the marathon would be run on Patriots’ Day since 2019, and marked the fiftieth anniversary of the first time a woman competed in the race. Lively fans cheered along the race course as the race started.

The race itself proved even more compelling. With near perfect weather, both the men’s and women’s races included tight battles at the front of the pack through most of the race. 

For the women’s race, that battle lasted until the very end. Kenya’s Peres Jepchirchir and Joyciline Jepkosgei were neck-in-neck with Ethiopia’s Ababel Yeshaneh for most of the 26.2 mile (42.16K) race. In between the 35K and 40K marks, Jepkosgei fell behind the lead two. Jepchirchir and Yeshaneh, in their fight for first place, showed amazing and vastly different qualities in their running. Yeshaneh looked smooth and comfortable, taking long strides to the finish line. Jepchirchir, on the other hand, appeared to be the one gritting it out, still with a significant bounce in her step.

The finish was undoubtedly one of the most exciting the women’s competition has ever seen.

Just after two hours and 20 minutes, Jepchirchir made the final move which Yeshaneh could not match. She ultimately finished with a time of 2:21:01, just four seconds faster than Yeshaneh’s 2:21:05.

While the racers’ final times did not end up being the closest in race history, the finish was undoubtedly one of the most exciting the women’s competition has ever seen. The race also capped off an incredible eight month stretch for Jepchirchir; she recently won the New York Marathon and took gold at the Tokyo Olympics.

Mary Ungugi of Kenya ended up in third place, and Nell Rojas, the top American finisher, finished in tenth.

On the men’s side, the race was unprecedented due to the incredible pedigree of so many of the runners. Eleven of the athletes, which is the most in Boston Marathon history, had run a marathon in under 2:06:00.

The lead pack in the men’s race was a lot larger than the women’s for much of the race. Around the 35K mark, it split up in a matter of moments. Ultimately, Evans Chebet took the lead as fellow Kenyans Lawrence Cherono and the defending champion Benson Kipruto tried to keep up with him. Chebet proved too much for Cherono and Kipruto to handle as he flew to his first major marathon victory. He finished with a time of 2:06:51, the third fastest time in Boston Marathon history. Behind him, Cherono finished in 2:07:21, and Kipruto in 2:07:27.

It was a monumental victory for Chebet, who had a habit of falling just short in his major races throughout his career. The 33-year-old had previously recorded top-five finishes at the London, Berlin, Seoul, Valencia, and Buenos Aires marathons.

Scott Fauble became the seventh-fastest American finisher of all time, with a personal best time of 2:08:52. 

In the end, the 126th edition of the Boston Marathon proved to be a memorable one beyond its return to Patriots’ Day and the Boston sports spotlight.

This piece also appears in our May 2022 print edition.