Boston Marathon

How Boston Marathon champion Benson Kipruto made his winning move

The 2021 champion ran mile 24 in 4:25.

Benson Kipruto Boston
Benson Kipruto of Kenya crossing the finsih line to win the 2021 Boston Marathon. Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images

Benson Kipruto achieved the biggest win of his career on Monday, breaking the tape in the 2021 Boston Marathon with a time of 2:09:51.

The 30-year-old Kenyan didn’t make his move until late, but built a 46-second lead by the time he reached the finish line on Boylston Street. Ethiopians Lemi Berhanu and Jemal Yimer were second and third, respectively.

Kipruto was comfortably ensconced in a deep group that chased down the early lead built by American C.J. Albertson. One reason he wasn’t stressed about Albertson’s push in the first half of the race was that, as he admitted to reporters afterward, he didn’t know the American had gotten away from the main field until they caught him.


“It was slower because we didn’t have a pacemaker,” Kipruto said of the start in a WBZ interview at the finish line.

But when the race reached Cleveland Circle, Kipruto attacked. He ran mile 23 in 4:29. Once in the lead, he accelerated, running his next mile even faster (4:25). Having taken control of the race, he never relinquished it, comfortably cruising to his first World Major Marathon win.

His performance between the 35th and 40th kilometers was especially impressive, covering the ground in just 14:06.

One factor he knew he could count on throughout the race was the presence of fans along the route.

“They really help when they cheer us,” Kipruto said of the support.

This was his second marathon win of 2021 after running a 2:10:16 time in Prague in May. Kipruto’s other marathon win came in Toronto in 2018. His only other race in Boston was 2019, when he finished 10th.

Kipruto joins his brother, Dickson Chumba, as a major marathon winner. Chumba, 34, won Tokyo in 2014 and 2018 as well as Chicago in 2015.


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