Debut Marathoners Prevail In Women’s Race At 2017 Boston Marathon

Kiplagat 3Photo: Steve Godwin

The top three podium finishers for the women’s race all have one thing in common: this was their Boston Marathon debut race. 

In the final miles of the race, it was clear that Kenyan Edna Kiplagat would take the title of 2017 Boston Marathon champion for the women’s elite field. Crossing the finish line at Boylston Street in 2:21:52, this is the 38-year-old’s debut Boston, but third Abbott World Marathon Major title.

It was a slow start for the women’s elite race (starting mile splits: 5:55, 5:36 and 5:38) with temperatures already reaching 70 degrees. Within the first couple miles, though, American Desiree Linden made a move to the front of the pack, running comfortably in the lead for most of the first half of the marathon.

“I wanted to be patient in the first 10K or so,” said Linden about her strategy during the first half of the race. “I just feel like if it was a respectable pace, I was just gonna tuck in, but so many fast half (marathon) runners in there, I can’t let it be too slow. After the 10K mark I knew I had to put my foot down on the gas just a little bit.”

Desi 1Photo: Steve Godwin

By mile 18, though, Linden fell far behind while Kiplagat, Rose Chelimo of Bahrain, Kenyan Gladys Cherono and American Jordan Hasay surged ahead to form the top four, approaching what most consider the most difficult section of the course, Heartbreak Hill.

PHOTOS: The 2017 Boston Marathon Women’s Race

As temperatures climbed into the high 70s and the women’s top four started the ascent up Heartbreak Hill, Kiplagat surged ahead with a fast mile split of 5:02 at mile 20—leaving Hasay and Chelimo chasing her dust.

By mile 21, Kiplagat had secured a 28-second lead, maintaining a strong pace and form in the final miles, alone on the road with no other challengers in sight.

“I was feeling good, my body reacted really well,” Kiplagat said in the post-race press conference.

Chelimo followed Kiplagat, placing second in 2:22:51. This was also her debut Boston Marathon following her eighth-place finish at the Rio Olympic Games.

Jordan 1Photo: Steve Godwin

Jordan Hasay held her own throughout the race, placing third in 2:23:00, the fastest American debut time on the course and fourth fastest American women’s marathon time ever. Although it was her marathon debut, Hasay’s determination to stick with the lead pack showed in the last 5 miles as she surged ahead of fellow American Linden for third.

“I think that the marathon is a very emotional event and I try to stay as relaxed and calm as possible,” said Hasay about her mental state during the race. “The crowds toward the end were chanting ‘USA, USA,’ so I tried to feed off that energy.”

Hasay also unexpectedly lost her mother last November, and explains how that was also a motivating factor in her race today.

“She knew I’d be debuting in Boston, and so I was just thinking about everyone out there that has lost loved ones as well, and that really lifted me up and empowered me through it,” Hasay added.

Unable to keep up with Hasay’s pace, Linden finished fourth in 2:25:06. An experienced Boston marathoner, the two-time Olympian has placed second, ninth and fourth in 2011, 2014 and 2015 respectively at Boston. In 2011, Linden narrowly missed the victory by 2 seconds and has ever since been chasing a Boston victory.

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