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Boston Marathon elite field announced

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Boylston Street will see a few familiar faces when the 123rd edition of the Boston Marathon takes place on April 15.

The Boston Athletic Association and sponsor John Hancock announced the elite field on Thursday, which includes both defending champions – American Desiree Linden and Japan’s Yuki Kawauchi. In total, nine Boston Marathon open champions and seven wheelchair champions will compete in the elite field.

Linden ended a 33-year drought for American women when she won last year’s race after powering through rampant rain. Other headliners in this year’s field include 2017 winner Edna Kiplagat of Kenya and 2016 Olympic marathon bronze medalist Mare Dibaba of Ethiopia. American Sarah Sellers, who surprised with a second-place finish in Boston last year, will also compete, as will Olympic 10,000-meter silver medalist Sally Kipyego of Kenya.

The men’s elite entrants include 2017 winner and world marathon champion Geoffrey Kirui of Kenya and 2018 New York City Marathon winner Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia. Shadrack Biwott, who finished third in Boston last year, and Olympians Dathan RitzenheinAbdi Abdirahman and Jared Ward headline the U.S. contingent.

American Tatyana McFadden and Switzerland’s Marcel Hug are among the frontrunners in the elite wheelchair divisions. McFadden, a 17-time Paralympic medalist, is a five-time Boston winner and the defending champion. She’ll face Manuela Schar of Switzerland, who clocked in at 1:28.17 in 2017, becoming the first woman to finish under 1:30. Hug, an eight-time Paralympic medalist, will race for his fifth wheelchair title in a men’s field that also includes South African Ernst van Dyk, a 10-time Boston winner.

Boston Marathon not in Shalane Flanagan’s plan

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Shalane Flanagan, a four-time Olympian and 2017 New York City Marathon winner, said before and after the Boston Marathon in April that it would likely be her last time racing the world’s oldest annual 26.2-miler as an elite.

She’s sticking to that.

Flanagan’s name was noticeably absent from the U.S. elite entries for the 2019 Boston Marathon announced Tuesday.

“As of now, Shalane has no intentions of running Boston,” her husband said in an email Wednesday. “She’s just taking a break from running.”

Flanagan, 37 and a Massachusetts native, approached her three most recent marathons as if they could be her last.

She became the first U.S. female runner to win New York in 40 years in 2017. She placed seventh in Boston last April in miserable weather. Then she was third in her New York defense on Nov. 4, mouthing “I love you” and waving her right hand to the Central Park finish-line crowd.

“I just thought [in the final miles] if this truly is going to be my last race, a podium spot really would be special,” Flanagan said that day.

Flanagan could try to become the first U.S. distance runner to compete in five Olympics in 2020. At 39, she would be the third-oldest female U.S. Olympic runner after marathoners Colleen de Reuck (2004) and Francie Larrieu-Smith (1992), according to the OlyMADMen.

But Flanagan, the 2008 Olympic 10,000m silver medalist, hasn’t said whether she will enter the Tokyo trials on Feb. 29, 2020 in Atlanta.

“My heart is leaning towards serving others,” Flanagan, who as a training group teammate has helped Amy Cragg to a world bronze medal and Shelby Houlihan to the American record in the 5000m in the last two years, said Nov. 4. “It’s become swinging more in that direction than it is in my own running.”

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MORE: 2018 U.S. marathon rankings

Eliud Kipchoge, Caterine Ibarguen win IAAF Athlete of the Year awards

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Kenyan marathoner Eliud Kipchoge and Colombian jumper Caterine Ibarguen won the IAAF Athlete of the Year awards.

Kipchoge lowered the marathon world record to 2:01:39 from 2:02:57 at the Berlin Marathon on Sept. 16, winning a modern-era record-extending ninth straight elite marathon. He also won the London Marathon on April 22.

Kipchoge earned the award over finalists U.S. sprinter Christian Coleman, Swedish pole vaulter Mondo Duplantis, French decathlete Kevin Mayer and Qatari hurdler Abderrahman Samba. He is the first male marathoner to grab the annual honor and the second Kenyan after David Rudisha in 2010.

Mayer was the only other man to break an outdoor world record this year, taking down the retired Ashton Eaton‘s decathlon mark.

Ibarguen swept the Diamond League season titles in the triple jump and the long jump, going undefeated for 2018 in the former. She is best known as a triple jumper, taking the 2013 and 2015 World titles and Rio Olympic gold.

The other female finalists were British sprinter Dina Asher-Smith, Kenyan steeplechaser Beatrice Chepkoech, Bahamian sprinter Shaunae Miller-Uibo and Belgian heptathlete Nafi Thiam. Chepkoech was the only woman to break a world record on the track this year, smashing the steeple mark by eight seconds.

The finalists did not include South African Caster Semenya, who extended an undefeated record at 800m dating to 2015 and set personal bests at 400m, 800m and 1500m this year. Semenya finished the season ranked No. 1 in the world in the 800m, No. 4 in the 400m and No. 9 in the 1500m, rare versatility.

The last Americans to earn the annual awards were Eaton in 2015 and Allyson Felix in 2012.

Duplantis and American hurdler Sydney McLaughlin won Rising Star awards.

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