Wednesday 28 June 2017

Athletics: Cragg fails to last pace as Mutai denied world record

Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya celebrates with the trophy after winning the men's Boston Marathon yesterday in 2 hours three minutes and two seconds. Photo: Getty Images
Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya celebrates with the trophy after winning the men's Boston Marathon yesterday in 2 hours three minutes and two seconds. Photo: Getty Images

Jimmy Golen in BOSTON

Kenya's Geoffrey Mutai won the Boston Marathon yesterday in 2 hours, 3 minutes, 2 seconds -- the fastest anyone has ever run the 26.2 mile distance.

However, because the race had a strong tailwind on a downhill course, Mutai's run will not be recognised as a world record.

Mutai's time was 57 seconds faster than the current record, set by Haile Gebrselassie in Berlin in 2008, and almost three minutes better than the Boston course record set last year by Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot.

The late pace proved too hot for Ireland's Alistair Cragg, who was making his debut over the distance with a view to qualifying for the Olympics after a promising 60:49 half-marathon debut in New York last month.

Cragg came through the first 20km in 61 minutes and 31 seconds, which was 2:10 pace, but then dropped out.

Caroline Kilel won the women's race to complete a Kenyan double, outsprinting Desiree Davila to win by two seconds in 2:22:36. Davila led into the final stretch on Boylston Street on her way to an American record -- five seconds faster than Joan Benoit finished to win in 1983.

No American -- man or woman -- has won the Boston Marathon since Lisa Larsen-Weidenbach triumphed in 1985.

Kilel and Mutai each collected $150,00 for their victories, while Mutai pocketed an additional $50,000 for his world best and another $25,000 for the course record.

A year after Cheruiyot had lowered the course record by more than a minute, the runners lined up in Hopkinton with temperatures around eight degrees and a wind at their back -- perfect marathoning weather.

Kim Smith, a New Zealander who lives in Providence, took off at a record pace and led the women's race for more than 20 miles. The men were more steady, and they were the ones to take down the old mark.

Four men, including Ryan Hall, who set an American record of 2:04:58 in finishing fourth, and third-placed Ethiopian Gebregziabher Gebremariam, broke the 2:05 milestone that just 12 months ago had seemed insurmountable on the hilly Boston course.

Mutai and Moses Mosop ran side by side for the final miles before Mutai pulled ahead on Boylston Street and won by four seconds.

The 19th Kenyan winner in the past 21 years, Mutai raised his arms in the air and grinned.

Cheruiyot, who had injured his side in a car accident in Kenya, dropped out in the first half of the race.

Smith took off at the start, and the pack let her go, falling almost a minute behind. But 20 miles in, as she ran down Commonwealth Avenue in Newton toward Heartbreak Hill, she began to stutter-step.

Soon, she had stopped completely to rub her right calf. It was only for a few seconds, but when she resumed she had clearly slowed and the pack was upon her less than a mile later. Among them was Davila.

The American ran with Kenyans Kilel and Sharon Cherop through Chestnut Hill and briefly broke out of her rhythm to wave as the crowd began chanting, "U-S-A!"

The three swapped leads down Beacon Street in Brookline, and Davila led even on the final stretch before Kilel outkicked her.

Irish Independent

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