Fatuma Roba
Home: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Age: 27
Personal best: 2:23:21 (Boston. 1998)

The three-time Boston champion narrowly missed a fourth straight title last year, coming in third in the closest finish in race history. In a photo finish, Irina Bogacheva edged her for second, each at 2:26:27. Roba owns the third- and fourth-fastest times ever in Boston (2:23:21 in 1998, 2:23:25 in '99). Her '99 time was good for 24th place in the entire field, the highest overall finish for a woman. Roba took the gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games in 2:26:05. This year, she has been racing on the cross country circuit in Spain with impressive results and has also lowered her personal best half-marathon time to 1:09:19 with a win at the Kyoto City Half-Marathon.