Defending champion Evans Chebet powered to back-to-back victories in the Boston Marathon on Monday as Eliud Kipchoge’s quest to add to his collection of major marathon titles ended in disappointment.
In wet and windy conditions, 2022 champion Chebet of Kenya took his time before surging away in the closing stages to become the first man to defend the Boston crown since compatriot Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot completed a hat trick of victories between 2006-2008.
Chebet finished in a time of 2hr 5min 54sec, with Tanzania’s Gabriel Geay finishing second in 2:06:04, and Kenyan Benson Kipruto third in 2:06:04.
Two-time Olympic champion and world record holder Kipchoge — who had been bidding to add the Boston crown to previous marathon victories in Berlin, Tokyo, London and Chicago — trailed home in sixth place in 2:09:23, around three-and-a-half minutes adrift of Chebet.
Kipchoge had looked in prime form over the opening stages, coolly leading a group of 10 runners through the halfway stage in 1:02:19.
The Kenyan icon still looked in control when the leading group started to thin after around 16 miles, with the pace picking up as the undulating Boston course made its descent.
But the complexion of the race changed in mile 19 when Geay made what turned out to be a huge move that broke Kipchoge’s resistance.
As the pack gave chase to Geay, the world record-holder was rapidly left behind and was soon nearly 100 meters off the pace.
Geay remained in the lead through 24 miles in a leading trio alongside Chebet and Kipruto.
But Chebet and Kipruto kicked on in the final two miles and Chebet led with a mile to go before pulling away to retain his crown.
Geay staged a late rally to take second from Kipruto.