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The 128th Boston Marathon: A Day of Champions and Records



The streets of Boston were alive with energy and anticipation on Monday, April 16th, 2024, as athletes from over 100 countries gathered to take on the historic 128th Boston Marathon. While the vast majority of the nearly 30,000 runners would not take home any prizes, a select few would etch their names into the annals of marathon history.

Leading the charge was Sisay Lemma of Ethiopia, who set a blistering pace right from the start. Arriving in Boston with the fastest time in the field, Lemma wasted little time asserting his dominance. He broke away from the pack early in Ashland, opening up a lead of over half a mile. Lemma’s first half split of 1:19:00 was a staggering 99 seconds faster than Geoffrey Mutai’s course record pace from 2011, which, at the time, was the fastest marathon ever run.

Lemma’s relentless onslaught proved too much for the competition, as he crossed the finish line in 2:06:17—the 10th fastest time in Boston Marathon history. “I decided that I wanted to start fast early,” Lemma said after the race. “I kept the pace and I won.” His victory in Boston marked his second major marathon triumph, having also won the 2021 London Marathon.

While Lemma’s performance was undoubtedly the headline of the men’s professional division, the battle for the minor placings was just as compelling. Fellow Ethiopian Mohamed Esa closed the gap in the final miles, finishing a respectable second, 41 seconds behind Lemma. Two-time defending champion Evans Chebet of Kenya rounded out the podium, crossing the line in 2:07:22.

The women’s professional race was equally captivating, with Hellen Obiri of Kenya emerging victorious for the second consecutive year. Obiri, the first woman to win back-to-back Boston Marathons since 2005, outsprinted fellow Kenyan Sharon Lokedi down Boylston Street to claim the title in 2:22:37. “Defending the title was not easy,” Obiri said. “Since Boston started, it’s only been six women. So I said, ‘Can I be one of them?’ If you want to be one of them, you have to work extra hard. And I’m so happy because I’m now one of them. I’m now in the history books in Boston.”

Lokedi finished a close second in 2:22:45, while the ever-reliable Edna Kiplagat, a two-time Boston Marathon champion, rounded out the podium in 2:23:21. At 44 years old, Kiplagat’s bronze medal performance was a testament to her enduring class and resilience.

The day’s most remarkable feat, however, came in the wheelchair divisions. In the men’s race, Switzerland’s Marcel Hug, the seven-time Boston Marathon champion, cemented his legacy with a new course record of 1:15:33. Hug, the Paralympic marathon favorite in Paris this summer, was dominant throughout, building a nearly four-minute lead over the field. Despite a crash at the start of the Newton Hills section, the 37-year-old quickly recovered to secure yet another Boston title.

Hug’s performance was not the only record-breaking achievement of the day. In the women’s wheelchair division, Britain’s Eden Rainbow-Cooper claimed her first Boston crown, crossing the line in 1:35:11 – a new course record. The 22-year-old, who was seventh in Boston last year, has emerged as one of the top para-athletes in the world, with previous top-two finishes in Tokyo and Berlin.

“It was my fault,” Hug said, reflecting on his crash. “I had too much weight, too much pressure from above to my steering, so I couldn’t steer.” Undeterred, the Swiss maestro reclaimed his lead and powered to the finish line, cementing his status as one of the greatest wheelchair racers of all time.

Hug and Rainbow-Cooper each received $40,000 for their victories, with an additional $50,000 bonus for setting new course records. Their performances highlighted the incredible depth and talent within the para-athlete community, as they continue to inspire audiences around the world.

Beyond the professional divisions, the 128th Boston Marathon played host to a remarkable array of personal achievements and inspiring stories. In the men’s para T62/T64/T42/T44 (lower limb impairment) category, Marko Cheseto Lemtukei of the United States crossed the line in 2:46:45, showcasing the incredible resilience and determination of para-athletes.

The women’s para T62/T64/T42/T44 (lower limb impairment) division was equally compelling, with Kelly Bruno and Nicole Ver Kuilen of the United States completing the course in 3:31:30 and 4:13:18, respectively. In the men’s para T61/T63/T43 (lower limb impairment) category, Adam Popp of the United States finished with a time of 3:11:56, while Tatsiana Khvitsko-Trimborn and Meghan Bradshaw of the United States completed the women’s division in 4:00:04 and 4:31:14.

The diversity and inclusivity of the Boston Marathon were on full display, with athletes from a wide range of backgrounds and abilities showcasing their remarkable skills and determination. From the lightning-fast performances of the elite runners to the courageous efforts of the para-athletes, the 128th edition of this historic event was a true celebration of the human spirit.

As the sun set on another memorable Boston Marathon, the city basked in the glow of its champions. Sisay Lemma, Hellen Obiri, Marcel Hug, and Eden Rainbow-Cooper had etched their names into the annals of running history, inspiring generations to come. But for the thousands of other runners who crossed the finish line, the real victory was the personal triumph of completing one of the world’s most challenging and prestigious marathons.

The Boston Marathon has long been a beacon of athletic excellence, and the 128th edition did not disappoint. With its rich history, unparalleled atmosphere, and the sheer determination of its participants, this race continues to capture the hearts and imaginations of people around the globe. As the curtain falls on another unforgettable chapter, the stage is set for the 129th Boston Marathon, where a new generation of champions will undoubtedly emerge.

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