Reigning Champs Return To Boston

Sharon Cherop, left, and Wesley Korir will return to Boston on Patriots Day. Photo: PhotoRun.net

Wesley Korir and Sharon Cherop will defend their titles. 

(c) 2012 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission. 

Reigning Boston Marathon champions Sharon Cherop and Wesley Korir have both committed to run in the 2013 edition of the race next April, organizers announced today. The athletes, both from Kenya, survived an unusually hot edition of the Boston race this year where temperatures soared to 88 dehrees to finish first in 2:31:50 and 2:12:40, respectively.

“Both Wesley and Sharon held off an excellent field in 2012 and will face another one this year as we once again honor our commitment to bring the world’s top runners to the race,” explained Rob Friedman, head of sponsorships and event marketing at John Hancock Financial, the financial services company which bankrolls the elite section of the race. “Marathon Monday will be here before you know it and we fully expect millions of spectators and viewers will experience yet another thrilling race on April 15th.”

Korir, 30, who starred at the University of Louisville during his NCAA career, ran an excellent tactical race at Boston this year. He stayed with the lead pack of ten through the mostly downhill first half (1:06:08), then kept his cool as the day heated up and impatience got the best of his rivals. He was dropped and running alone by the time the race turned on to Commonwealth Avenue in the 18th mile, but knew he still had a chance to catch up if he stayed focused.

“The guys had taken off at a fast pace,” Korir told reporters after the race. “I didn’t want to go too hard too soon and cramp up. I thought, ‘let me go conservative and run my race.’ I was concerned about my health because it was really, really hot.”

Korir went from sixth place at the 20-mile mark, to first through the final 10K to get a dramatic victory, becoming the 12th Kenyan man to win Boston. He is clearly excited to return to Boston again next April.

“Winning the Boston Marathon was the biggest accomplishment of my life and the win placed me in a distinguished group of champions who are legendary,” Korir commented in a statement provided by race organizers.

Cherop, who had finished third in the 2011 Boston Marathon, used the slow first half (1:17:08) to save her energy, remembering the three-way sprint finish from the previous year in which she was beaten by both Caroline Kilel and Desi Davila.

“I saw how the weather was,” she said after the 2012 edition of the race. “I’m not going to do anything until the half-marathon and see how hot it’s going to feel.”

She would eventually prevail in a two-woman sprint over compatriot Jemima Jelagat Sumgong, winning by just two seconds.

“I feel so happy,” said Cherop, who won $150,000 in prize money.

Cherop, 28, who also won the Turin Marathon last month in a course record 2:23:57, said she will be ready for next April’s race.

“I will be in Boston to try to win again and perform at my best level,” said Cherop in a statement. “I know that there are some of the best athletes in the world competing in Boston in 2013, but I’ll be ready for the big race.”

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