Boston, Ma. – U.S. Olympians Shalane Flanagan, Amy Cragg, Meb Keflezighi and Ryan Hall were an added attraction at today’s 2016 Boston Marathon elite athlete press conference. But with the top end Americans resting from February’s Olympic Trials and preparing for Rio Games this summer, there are fewer marquee names in this year’s marathon field. Plenty of very fast runners, mind you, just not a lot of star power.
The biggest story in Boston 2016 is probably Lelisa Desisa’s attempt at a third BAA crown. The 26 year-old Ethiopian has won two of his three Boston starts, 2013 and 2015. Only a DNF in Meb’s year of 2014, when Desisa stepped on a water bottle at 25K forcing him from the race at 35K, has seen him off the winner’s stand. And speaking to his coach Haji Adillo, and his manager Hussein Makke, Desisa is laser focused on that three-peat.
“He is in top form,” said Coach Adillo, “better than ever, more mileage than before. But after the World Championships (7th in Beijing in August) and third place at New York, we said, ‘enough’. So we took it easy after November with only one race scheduled before Boston.”
Lelisa won that race, the Aramco Houston Half Marathon in January in a fine 60:37, showing he is in perfect position to become the ninth runner to take three Boston wins in a career, and first since Robert Cheruiyot won the third of four in 2007.
But Boston is a tricky race with no pacesetters, and a course as undulant as a Moroccan belly dancer. (more…)