Boston MA – What were the Pilgrims thinking? Did you feel it? Yeah, that was springtime that blew through Boston yesterday for about two hours from 9 till 11 am. Then winter came roaring back on a raw, east wind that had everyone scrambling back to their hotel rooms for more hats, gloves and turtlenecks. And with rain and even sleet coming today with temperatures never out of the mid 30s, maybe we should be thankful that Monday’s 122nd Boston Marathon only predicts temps in the 40-50s with rain and strong headwinds.
But that’s New England, always something to overcome, from its rocky earth to its unrelenting winters. But as Boulder Wave Agency head Brendan Reilly, an old Bostonian himself, said to his client, defending women’s champ Edna Kiplagat, “three hours after the start somebody is going to be standing up on that podium with the mayor receiving a trophy as champion. So it might as well be you.”
Good, stoic New England advice, that, but hard to implement just the same. Though training has gone very well, Edna does not like cold and rainy conditions, only placing 14th in her tune up half marathon in Japan in 73:45. “I never ran in snow before.” Just the same, this is the most accomplished runner in the field, so never write her off, even at age 38.
Since this Boston women’s field was first announced, the feeling that this would be the year for an American woman to win this race for the first time since Lisa Weidenbach (now Rainsberger) in 1985 has been strong. Now with the withdrawl of the Olympic silver medalist Eunice Kirwa of Bahrain, and slight injury reports on Ethiopians Mamitu Daska (slight ankle problem after 3rd in New York last fall) and Buzu Deba (missed a week of training with a tweaked left knee), that leaves 3x Dubai champion Aselefech Mergia, 2015 Boston champ Caroline Rotich, newcomer Gladys Chesir and defending champ Edna Kiplagat as the main challenge to the four top Americans.
But Rotich has dropped out of the last two Bostons, and hasn’t popped a good one since she won in the cold and rain of Boston 2015. For her part, though she carries a 2:19:31 best, Mergia ran her PR six years ago and has only run one non-paced marathon with hills in her career (2nd, 2015 NYC),
Gladys Chesir is a newcomer, but hasn’t shown to be a winner in her track and cross country career leading into her 2:24:51 2nd place debut in flat Amsterdam last fall.
When was the last time it would have been considered an upset for an American woman not to win Boston? Certainly never in the prize money era. But that’s where we are before Monday’s 122nd Boston Marathon. Continue reading