On Monday, Flanagan will race in her first Boston Marathon, not only as a hometown heroine, but also as the American female favorite.
For Flanagan, who now lives in Oregon, her fourth career marathon will also be her Boston debut. She was 10th in the Olympic marathon in London last summer, and won the US Olympic marathon trials early in 2012.
But Boston is extra-special.
"I used to dream of this moment, what it would look like to be an elite athlete," Flanagan said during the elite runners press conference Friday at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston. "I was a spectator and a fan and to actually be part of the race, and actually be considered an elite athlete at this race completely blows my mind and it's really surreal."
Even though Flanagan has yet to run the Boston Marathon, she'll consider this a hometown run.
"This is my city, in a way," Flanagan said. "I look at it almost as my home course even though I haven't run the [Boston] Marathon yet, I just feel like it's nice having the expectation for us to perform well, and to represent our country well, just added incentive to pull the most out of ourselves."
Flanagan spoke about how she'll handle the fans on the course, most of whom will be cheering her on throughout the race.
"If it gets me too excited or too emotional, that's bad," Flanagan said. "But at the end of the race is where I think it's going to be crucial, when I'm tired, knowing that people care about my performance and are invested in how I do, that elevates my level of expectations and my level of commitment to suffer for a little bit more."
Wesley Korir is used to moving at a fast pace, whether it was when he won his first marathon in Chicago or when he won the Boston Marathon in 2012.
On Wednesday afternoon, he was forced to move at a fast pace again -- but not because he was in the middle of a race. He was racing the clock to make sure he was on time to the John Hancock Scholars and Stars Event at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center.
Korir was the main speaker for the 400 Boston Public School track athletes at the event, but was in jeopardy of being absent as a result of a delayed flight (it was a day and a half late). His plane landed around 3:30 pm Wednesday, allowing for him to impart some running wisdom on the student-athletes.
“I’ve never seen somebody run looking backwards. If you [see] somebody run looking backwards, he’s not a good runner,” Korir said. “As a runner, I’ve never seen somebody run looking down. If you [see] somebody running while looking down, he’s not a good runner. For you to become a good runner, you need to focus and run for the prize ahead of you.”
The attentive students listened on as Korir told his story of how he went from a child running five miles barefoot to class in Kenya, to a senator in the same country and a marathon champion.
“Him just coming here and then trying to make it on time just to see us, that’s a really great gift from him,” O’Bryant senior Patrick Powell said.
Powell was a member of O’Bryant’s 1600-meter sprint medley team that won first place in the event’s first ever "Friendship Sprint" medley relay. Winning in front of the elite athlete made the entire experience worthwhile.
“All these people that have done great in track and field, I really look up to them because of all the work and perseverance it takes to get to that height and I want to get to that same height too,” Powell said.
Korir was joined by other marathon greats Bill Rodgers, four-time winner of the Boston Marathon, and Greg Meyer, the last American to win the Boston Marathon.
“To link with Scholars and Stars, I love this idea,” Rodgers said. “It’s kind of like what running is permanently all about. It’s really about friendship and the friends you make in school and in sports.”
Meyer, who often volunteers as a high school track coach in his offseason, also took the duties of leading a stretching and core strengthening workout for all of the students at the event.
“There’s a lot of talent in these kids, not just in running but in life,” Meyer said. “You never know when something’s going to click with a kid and they’re good kids, they’re fun.”
Meyer was joined in leading the stretches with another member of the O’Bryant relay team, sophomore Brian Donna who hopes to run in the Olympics some day.
“You’re learning from the masters, they’ve been through everything you’ve been through,” Donna said. “You got to lead by example, there’s leaders and followers.”
By that mentality, the student’s couldn’t have had better athletes to listen to.
“You have the opportunity to change this country the way you want,” Korir said. “So take the opportunity, keep it in your hand and run with it and become who you want to become.”
We caught up with the men's and women's winners, fan-favorite Uta Pippig, Former Patriot Tedy Bruschi, and more runners at the finish line on Boylston Street on a hot Patriots' Day for the 116th running of the Boston Marathon.
Joan Benoit Samuelson, the 1979 and 1983 women's record-setting champion, returned to run Boston for the first time in 18 years. The 53-year-old Freeport, Maine native finished with a time of 02:51:29, good for first place in her age group.
Samuelson, who's back seized up Thursday, did not decide until this morning whether or not she would run the marathon, but the 1984 Olympic gold medalist ultimately decided to give it a go.
"I did it on a wing and a prayer," Samuelson said after finishing the race. "I wasted a lot of energy in the last couple of days wondering if I was going to get to the starting line and I decided with the forecast and the tail wind, that I'd regret not at least trying. I've never dropped out of a race. That was on my mind. I tried to put that out."
Samuelson set an American record of 2:23:15 in the 1979 Boston Marathon and in the 1983 race, she set a world record finishing in 2:22:43.
Samuelson's daughter Abby, who ran Boston for the first time, greeted her famous mother at the finish.
Uta Pippig, the Boston Marathon's women's champion for three straight years (1994-1996), was on hand to help the team from the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge.
"Those runners are having a lifetime experience," Pippig said. "To run a marathon, come on, in any condition. It's getting warm now, but they had a good time, many actually ran PRs (personal records) today."
Checking in from the finish line with a couple of notes and observations as the festivities get underway 26.2 miles away in Hopkinton . . .
* In the men's elite field, Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot is back to defend his title after running a course-record 2 hours 5 minutes 52 seconds last year. But the field is remarkably deep with challengers, with past and present champions from marathons in Chicago, New York, Amsterdam, Paris, Houston, Monaco, Phoenix, and more.
* There were no prerace dropouts from the men's or women's elite field this morning.
* Ryan Hall, who finished fourth last year and was credited by Cheruiyot with pushing the pace, is trying to become the first American to win in Boston since 1983. Hall, a 28-year-old Stanford graduate, finished third in 2009, 58 seconds back. Last year, he was 2:49 off Cheruiyot's pace.
* Winds reached as high as 15 miles per hour this morning, and if this continues out of the west, it could lead to course records being "shattered," according to our own marathon guru, John Powers.
* The women's race has been decided by three seconds or less in each of the past three years. Last year, Teyba Erkesso won by exactly that margin over Tatyana Pushkareva. They are both back in this year's deep field, which includes 15 women who have personal bests of 2:26:30 or better. Four-time winner Catherine Ndereba and 2008 winner Dire Tune are in the field.
* Kara Goucher, who finished third in 2009 and is returning from maternity leave, is the most well-known American woman in the race. She was just nine seconds off the winning time two years ago. The fastest American female runner this year is Desiree Davila, who has been training on the Boston course.
* Overall, the elite field includes 40 athletes (18 men, 22 women) who hail from seven countries (Ethiopia, Ireland, Kenya, Russia, Ukraine, New Zealand, and the US.)
American talent Brett Gotcher has been added to the elite field for the 115th running of the Boston Marathon on April 18.
Gotcher ran the fourth fastest American marathon debut in Houston in 2010 and the 2:10:36 he recorded is his personal best. Gotcher represented the United States at the 2009 World Half Marathon Championships and the 2009 World Cross Country Championships.
Accomplished at the national level, Gotcher won the 2009 USATF 20K Championships in 58:57, placed third in the USATF Half Marathon Championships with a personal best 1:02:09, and finished seventh in the USATF Cross Country Championships.
Antonio Vega, the USATF Men’s Long Distance Runner of the Year, has not been able to train properly due to a stress fracture in the pelvis and has withdrawn from this year's race. Vega’s doctors expect the athlete will be back racing in the summer.
“Once I found out that I had a stress fracture, I was extremely disappointed that I would have to miss the Boston Marathon,” said Vega. “Last year I considered the Boston Marathon one of my breakthrough races, and was looking forward to coming back again this year and bettering my performance. As tough as it is to have to sit out this year’s race, I look forward to coming back and running the Boston Marathon in future years.”
Vega won the 2010 US Half Marathon Championships last year in 1:01:54 and then finished 12th at the Boston Marathon. He trains with Team USA Minnesota.
Updated field lists for men and women elites follow:
|Men’s Open Field||Citizenship||Personal Best|
|1||Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot||Kenya||2:05:52 (Boston, 2010) CR|
|2||Geoffrey Mutai||Kenya||2:04:55 (Rotterdam, 2010)|
|3||Ryan Hall||USA||2:06:17 (London, 2008)|
|4||Gilbert Yegon||Kenya||2:06:18 (Amsterdam, 2009)|
|5||Evans Cheruiyot||Kenya||2:06:25 (Chicago, 2008)|
|6||Tadese Tola||Ethiopia||2:06:31 (Frankfurt, 2010)|
|7||Sylvester Teimet||Kenya||2:06:49 (Seoul, 2010) CR|
|8||Bekana Daba||Ethiopia||2:07:04 (Houston, 2011) CR|
|9||Philip Kimutai Sanga||Kenya||2:07:11 (Frankfurt, 2010)|
|10||Shadrack Kiplagat||Kenya||2:07:53 (Amsterdam, 2007)|
|11||Tekeste Kebede||Ethiopia||2:07:23 (Boston, 2010)|
|12||Abreham Cherkos||Ethiopia||2:07:29 (Amsterdam, 2010)|
|13||Deressa Chimsa||Ethiopia||2:07:54 (Dubai, 2009)|
|14||Stephen Kibiwot||Kenya||2:07:54 (Praha, 2009)|
|15||Robert Kipchumba||Kenya||2:08:07 (Xiamen, 2011) CR|
|16||Gebregziabher Gebremariam||Ethiopia||2:08:14 (New York City 2010)|
|17||Moses Kigen Kipkosgei||Kenya||2:10:12 (Nairobi, 2009) CR|
|18||Brett Gotcher||USA||2:10:36 (Houston, 2010)|
|19||Peter Kamais||Kenya||2:14:58 (New York City, 2010)|
|Women’s Open Field||Country||Personal Best|
|1||Teyba Erkesso||Ethiopia||2:23:53 (Houston, 2010) CR|
|2||Catherine Ndereba||Kenya||2:18:47 (Chicago, 2001) NR|
|3||Galina Bogomolova||Russia||2:20:47 (Chicago, 2006)|
|4||Sharon Cherop||Kenya||2:22:43 (Toronto, 2010) CR|
|5||Tirfi Tsegaye||Ethiopia||2:22:44 (Toronto, 2010)|
|6||Merima Mohammed||Ethiopia||2:23:06 (Toronto, 2010)|
|7||Salina Kosgei||Kenya||2:23:22 (Berlin, 2006)|
|8||Caroline Kilel||Kenya||2:23:25 (Frankfurt, 2010) CR|
|9||Dire Tune||Ethiopia||2:23:44 (Frankfurt, 2010)|
|10||Alice Timbilili||Kenya||2:25:03 (Amsterdam, 2010)|
|11||Kim Smith||New Zealand||2:25:21 (London, 2010) NR|
|12||Kara Goucher||USA||2:25:52 (New York, 2008)|
|13||Tatyana Pushkareva||Russia||2:26:14 (Boston, 2010)|
|14||Desiree Davila||USA||2:26:20 (Chicago, 2010)|
|15||Misiker Mekonin Demissie||Ethiopia||2:26:20 (Los Angeles, 2010)|
|16||Silvia Skvortsova||Russia||2:26:24 (Berlin, 2009)|
|17||Werknesh Kidane||Ethiopia||2:27:15 (Dubai, 2011)|
|18||Hellen Mugo||Kenya||2:27:16 (Carpi, 2010)|
|19||Yuliya Ruban||Ukraine||2:27:44 (Frankfurt, 2010)|
|20||Woynishet Girma||Ethiopia||2:27:51 (Amsterdam, 2010)|
|21||Blake Russell||USA||2:29:10 (Chicago, 2005)|
Material from The Boston Athletic Association was used in this report.
Goucher, who took last season off to have her first child, was third in the 2009 Boston Marathon, nine seconds behind winner Salina Kosgei. The 2011 event will be her first marathon since the birth of her son, Colt, in September.
“My return to running has gone very well and I can’t think of a better place than Boston to pick up where I left off,” Goucher said in a John Hancock news release.
Goucher holds the third-fastest marathon time ever by an American woman, a 2:25.53 set at the New York Marathon in 2008.
Davila was the top American at the Chicago Marathon in October. Her fourth-place finish, in 2:26.20, was the fourth-fastest marathon ever by an American woman.
"The next logical step is putting it all together and learning how to win," Davila said. "As an American marathoner, what better place to take on that challenge than Boston?"
The Boston Marathon will be held for the 115th time on April 18, 2011.
Below is a video interview with Davila after the Chicago Marathon.
American elite distance runners Ryan Hall and Mebrahtom Keflezighi said they were ready to compete for a win in the 114th Boston Marathon on Monday.
"I'm ready to take a swing at the top spot," Hall said during today's Boston Marathon elite athlete media conference at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel.
Hall finished third here a year ago, and Keflezighi won the New York City Marathon in November.
Four-time women's champion Catherine Ndereba has withdrawn from this year's Boston Marathon, organizers announced this morning.
Ndereba has a piriformis injury that will prevent her from competing. The piriformis is a muscle that extends from the back of the leg to the lower back.
Dmytry Baranovskyy of Ukraine has been added to the field. Other elite runner withdrawals announced Friday include Benjamin Maiyo, Mestawet Tufa, and Mohammed Amyn.
The Boston Athletic Association has a complete list of elite athletes entered in the 2010 event.
Boston, MA. – The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) announced today that eight former champions of the Boston Marathon will be returning to Boston and participating in the events surrounding the 114th Boston Marathon on April 19, 2010.
Jacqueline Gareau (1980), Lisa Rainsberger [Larsen-Weidenbach] (1985), and Gelindo Bordin (1990) will celebrate the anniversaries of their legendary Boston Marathon victories by running the historic 26.2 mile course again on Marathon Monday. Four-time Boston Marathon champion Bill Rodgers, 1968 winner Amby Burfoot, 1970 victor Ron Hill, and 1983 champion Greg Meyer will take part in the B.A.A. 5K on Sunday, April 18. The anniversaries of Geoff Smith (1984, 1985) as well as Hill, Gareau, Rainsberger, and Bordin will be recognized at Saturday morning’s Champions’ Breakfast at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Boston.
“Boston Marathon champions are held in high regard throughout the running world, and in especially high regard in Boston. To have five of them at the Champions’ Breakfast will be a true delight,” said Guy Morse, executive director of the B.A.A. “It’s a bonus that Jacqueline, Lisa, and Gelindo will celebrate by returning to the site of their victories, and that Amby, Ron, Bill, and Greg will be taking part in the 5K.”
Gareau, Rainsberger, and Bordin will be recognized on Marathon Monday by wearing bib numbers with their names on them. In the sea of more than 25,000 runners, this will make them more recognizable to spectators. On Sunday of Marathon weekend, the 5,000 participants of the B.A.A. 5K will have the chance to run alongside Amby Burfoot, Ron Hill, Greg Meyer, (the last American man to win the Boston Marathon) and Bill Rodgers - some of the most famous names in distance running history.
Boston Athletic Association Closes Registration for B.A.A. 5K
The B.A.A. also announced today registration for the second annual B.A.A. 5K has closed. Registration opened on Wednesday, March 3 and reached the 5,000 participant maximum 20 days later on Tuesday, March 23.
The 3.1 mile race will take place Sunday, April 18, 2010 at 8:00 a.m., starting at Copley Place Square, and finishing at the Boston Marathon finish line. Among some of the 5,000 participants will be four-time Boston Marathon champion Bill Rodgers, 1968 champion Amby Burfoot, 1970 victor Ron Hill, 1983 winner Greg Meyer, and women’s running pioneer and author, Kathrine Switzer. Maria Varela, winner of the inaugural B.A.A. 5K in 2009 returns to defend her title, while Ryan Hardiman, winner of the B.A.A.
Invitational Scholastic mile in 2009, will also take part. The event helps expand the excitement of the Marathon to Sunday, and gives runners of shorter distances the chance to compete during race weekend.
Race participants from 30 different countries will run past Boston’s historic landmarks and cross the same finish line marathoners will the following day. The B.A.A. organizes both the Boston Marathon and the B.A.A. 5K. “We are pleased to be able to offer a race for those interested in a shorter distance on Marathon weekend,” said Guy Morse, B.A.A. Executive Director. “The speed with which the race filled is testament to the spirit of race weekend and the enthusiasm of last year’s participants to return again.”
Immediately following the 5K, and beginning at approximately 9:30 a.m., the B.A.A. will host Invitational races: a 1,000 meter race for Middle School participants, Scholastic Mile for high-school-aged athletes, and a Professional Mile for elite athletes. Runners and spectators of the 5K, as well as the general public are invited to the Copley Square area to watch the short events. Collectively, these six races comprise the B.A.A.
Boston's bid to host one of the two Olympic marathon trials in 2012 was passed over in favor of Houston, which will host both the men's and women's trials in January of 2012.
New York had also bid to host one of the trials. The Houston events will be held the day before the Houston Marathon.
"As we expected, all three bids were remarkable, and all three bids had qualities that made each unique," USATF CEO Doug Logan said in a story posted on the USATF website. "Ultimately, we feel that hosting the Olympic Trials at Houston will afford our athletes the best opportunity to succeed in London. What was most striking about Houston's bid was their ability to integrate the Olympic trials into their weekend of racing in a way that benefited all parties, but first and foremost, the athletes."
2009 Boston Marathon champions Deriba Merga of Ethiopia and Salina Kosgei of Kenya will return to defend their titles for the 114th running of the race on April 19.
Past champions Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot and Catherine Ndereba of Kenya, Dire Tune of Ethiopia, and Lidiya Grigoryeva of Russia are also signed on for the race according to the release sent by John Hancock Financial.
In the 2009 men’s race, Deriba Merga of Ethiopia clipped Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot’s three-in-a-row streak and ran away from the lead pack in the Newton hills, unchallenged to the finish. Merga is just one of three Ethiopians to interrupt Kenyan dominance of the event over the past two decades.
Cheruiyot, a four-time Boston winner and the 2:07:14 course record holder, is back again, fresh from a runner-up spot in New York City. The formidable Kenyan shares the honor of at least four Boston wins with Gerard Cote and Bill Rodgers (4 wins each) and Clarence DeMar (7 wins).
In the 2009 women’s race, Salina Kosgei was challenged every step of the way by a determined Dire Tune who sought to defend her 2008 title. In the closest finish ever recorded, Kosgei edged an exhausted Tune at the tape to win by one second. The year before, Tune was on the winning end of the finish sprint as she dueled to the wire with Russian Alevtina Biktimirova, prevailing by two seconds.
Challenging Kosgei and Tune are former winners Lidiya Grigoryeva and Catherine Ndereba. A year after winning the 2007 “Nor’easter” Boston Marathon, Grigoryeva brilliantly won over a highly competitive field in Chicago. And “Catherine the Great” needs no reintroduction to Boston as she has written the history books here as the only woman to ever win four times. Ndereba is the second fastest woman marathoner of all time (2:18:47) and has earned two Olympic silver medals and two World Marathon Championship titles.
Information from John Hancock Financial was used in this update.
Four past champions, the course record holder, and Olympians lead the field of 29 athletes for 113th running of the Boston Marathon as John Hancock Financial announced the elite international field today.
In its 24th year as principal sponsor of the Boston Marathon, John Hancock Financial today announced its elite team of 29 marathon runners set for the 113th running of the race on Monday, April 20.
Headlining the field is four time champion and course record holder Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot of Kenya, defending women’s champion Dire Tune of Ethiopia, and former champions Lidiya Grigoryeva of Russia and Timothy Cherigat of Kenya. Challenging the champions are Olympians Ryan Hall, Brian Sell and Kara Goucher of America; Deriba Merga and Gashaw Asfaw of Ethiopia and Salina Kosgei of Kenya, as well as additional Olympians and winners of international marathons.
“John Hancock Financial once again has the honor and pleasure of bringing the world's top runners to the Boston Marathon, one of the world's premier road races,” said John D. DesPrez III, President and Chief Executive Officer of John Hancock Financial. “We have an outstanding field led by our defending men’s and women’s champions, and filled with an outstanding group of runners who will provide them with a worthy challenge.
“As we continue to support this great race for the 24th year and fulfill our commitment to the city of Boston and surrounding communities, we are pleased that the Boston Marathon provides such a tremendous positive economic effect on the region, particularly during the challenging economic times that we face now. This race will generate a direct and indirect economic impact estimated at $95 million for Boston and the region.”
"Our event's principal sponsor, John Hancock Financial, again has assembled a world-class field, providing exciting match-ups and compelling races," said Boston Athletic Association Executive Director Guy Morse. "From Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot going for his fifth victory to U.S. Olympians Ryan Hall, Kara Goucher and Brian Sell carrying the mantle for the Americans, the 113th edition of the Boston Marathon promises first class, competitive races from start to finish and also features a field of 25,000 motivated participants.”
Men’s Open Field
Women’s Open Field
- Matt Pepin, Boston.com sports editor
- Steve Silva, Boston.com senior producer, two-time Boston Marathon sub-four hour runner.
- Ty Velde is a 15-time Boston qualifier who's completed 11 consecutive Boston Marathons and 23 marathons overall. Ty is now training for his 12th Boston run and will provide training tips for those who train solo and outside, no matter what temperature it is.
- Rich 'Shifter' Horgan is a 19-time Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team member who runs in honor of his father, who died of colon cancer. He will provide updates on local running events with a focus on the charitable organizations that provide Boston Marathon entries for their organization's fund raising purposes