Ethiopians Sweep the 2016 Boston Marathon

Atsede Baysa running down Boylston Street. Photo: Brian Metzler

BOSTON — It was a surge to remember.

Atsede Baysa of Ethiopia was 37 seconds back at 35K at Monday’s Boston Marathon, in fourth place behind three women who were seemingly certain to make up the podium.

Twenty minutes later, Baysa was the Boston Marathon champion, picking off Valentine Kipketer, Tirfi Tsegaye and Joyce Chepkirui to win the race in dramatic fashion. Her time of 2:29:19 beat second-place Tsegaye by 44 seconds.

Baysa’s splits showed how strong of a race she ran: A 1:15:32 first half, followed by a 1:13:43 second half to pull away. Tsegaye finished second in 2:30:03, with Chepkirui third in 2:30:50. Defending champion Caroline Rotich of Kenya dropped out of the race about five miles in.

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In the men’s race, Lemi Berhanu Hayle pulled away from fellow Ethiopian and defending champion Lelisa Desisa after the water table in mile 24. Hayle finished in 2:12:45, 47 seconds ahead of Desisa. Yemane Tsegay finished third to complete the Ethopia podium sweep. He was just three seconds ahead of fourth-place Wesley Korir of Kenya.

As for the top American women, Neely Spence Gracey stayed with the lead pack for the first five miles before fading back in her anticipated marathon debut. Her and Sarah Crouch ran together for much of the race at that point, but Gracey pulled away and finished in 2:35:00 for ninth place overall. Crouch finished in 2:37:36, good for 11th overall.

“The crowds didn’t disappoint, this was amazing,” Gracey said afterward. “I’m so happy to be here. I guess I can finally call myself a marathoner.”

On the men’s side, Zachary Hine placed 10th in 2:21:37 to claim top American honors. Ian Burrell was 13th in 2:22:22.

In all, there was $830,500 in prize money at stake, with Baysa and Hayle earning $150,000 for the win.

 

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