Boston Marathon

Field for 125th Boston Marathon will include 13 former champions

Returning champion Des Linden highlights the field.

Jessica Rinaldi
2018 winner Desiree Linden will be back to run the Boston Marathon on Oct. 11.

The field for the 125th Boston Marathon will include 13 former champions with a combined 30 first-place Boston finishes, the Boston Athletic Association announced on Wednesday. The group competing on Oct. 11 includes World Athletics Marathon champions, Paralympic medalists, Abbott World Marathon Majors winners, and Olympians.

Four of the last five women’s open champions are scheduled to run: American Desiree Linden (2018), a two-time Olympian; Kenyan Edna Kiplagat (2017), a two-time World Athletics Marathon Championships gold medalist; Kenyan Caroline Rotich (2015); and Atsede Baysa (2016).

Two-time champion and course record holder Manuela Schär returns to defend her title in the women’s wheelchair race. Schär, a three-time Paralympic medalist from Switzerland, won Boston in 2017 and 2019 and is the only woman to have clocked a sub-1:30 marathon. Also among the wheelchair contenders is five-time Boston champion and 17-time Paralympic medalist Tatyana McFadden, who will race the 400 meters, 800 meters, 1500 meters, 5000 meters, and the marathon at the Tokyo Paralympic Games for Team USA.


The three returning men’s champions have all posted lifetime bests under 2:07:30. They are Kenya’s Geoffrey Kirui (2017), Ethiopia’s Lemi Berhanu (2016), and Yuki Kawauchi (2018), who will attempt to become the first man from Japan since Toshihiko Seiko in 1987 to earn two Boston Marathon titles.

Four men’s wheelchair champions with a combined 16 titles will return, including defending champion Daniel Romanchuk of Illinois. The 2016 and 2021 Paralympian for Team USA made history by winning the 2019 race and Abbott World Marathon Majors Series XII at just 20 years old. Course record holder Marcel Hug of Switzerland, who had four straight wins from 2015-18, is back. Ernst van Dyk of South Africa, the most decorated champion in race history with 10 titles, also will compete, as will 2012 winner and former course record holder Josh Cassidy of Canada.

The race also features restructured prize money awards that will include equal course record bonuses for the open and wheelchair divisions and the introduction of prize money for the inaugural para athletics divisions. Boston will be the first Abbott World Marathon Major event to offer equal $50,000 course record bonuses across open and wheelchair divisions, and the first event to provide a designated prize purse for athletes with upper limb, lower limb, and visual impairments.


“We are delighted to welcome so many champions from such a diverse range of competition back to Boston for the 125th running of the Boston Marathon,” said Tom Grilk, BAA president and CEO. “While October’s race marks a long-awaited return to racing, it will also recognize and celebrate the many world-class athletes competing for an historic prize purse across multiple divisions.”


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