Meb Keflezighi, Shalane Flanagan lead U.S. elite fields for Boston Marathon

Meb Keflezighi
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Meb Keflezighi will try to become the first American in 35 years to win back-to-back Boston Marathons on April 20.

Keflezighi, a three-time Olympian and 2004 Olympic marathon silver medalist, headlined the U.S. elite fields announced for the world’s oldest annual 26.2-mile race Wednesday.

The other U.S. elite men are three-time Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein, Nick Arciniaga, Jeffrey Eggleston and Fernando Cabada.

The field will not include two-time Olympian Ryan Hall, who is running the Los Angeles Marathon on March 15. Los Angeles will host the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials on Feb. 13, 2016.

Keflezighi won the 2014 Boston Marathon one year after twin bombings near the Boylston Street finish rocked the event. He became its oldest winner since 1930. The last U.S. man to repeat as champion was Bill Rodgers, who won three straight from 1978-80.

Keflezighi has said he’s aiming for the Rio Olympics, too. He will be two weeks shy of his 40th birthday on Patriots’ Day in Boston. He would become the oldest U.S. Olympic runner of all time if he makes the 2016 team, according to sports-reference.com.

Shalane Flanagan, the 2008 Olympic 10,000m bronze medalist, tops the group of American women going to Boston, returning from a fourth-place finish in 2014.

She’s joined by London Olympic teammates Desi Linden and Amy Hastings.

Flanagan, Hastings and Linden were the three fastest U.S. women’s marathoners last year. The U.S. Olympic team in the marathon will most likely be the top three finishers at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials.

No U.S. woman has won the Boston Marathon since 1985.

The women’s winner the last two years was Kenyan Rita Jeptoo, who tested positive for EPO in September and is facing a lengthy ban.

The Boston Marathon international fields are expected to be announced in mid-January.

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