Kirui, a 24-year-old runner from Kenya, won in 2:09:37 on a warm day in Boston. Rupp, the Olympic bronze medalist in the event, finished second in his first big-city American marathon in 2:09:58 and Suguru Osako of Japan was third in 2:10:28. In his three marathons, Rupp has finished first (in the Olympic trials), third and second. “It lived up to and exceeded all my expectations,” Rupp told NBC. “[The crowd] really lifted me those last three miles.”
Kirui, a convert from track, called Rupp “a strong guy,” and admitted that he tested him for 500 meters to see how the Portland, Ore., native would respond. Now, after the win, he acknowledged in broken English, “I try too many times in track, but I think my future is in the marathon.”
One of the more emotional scenes of the day occurred when Meb Keflezighi crossed the finish line. Keflezighi won the men’s division of the first marathon after the 2013 bombings, becoming the first American winner since 1983. He has said this will be his final Boston appearance at the age of 41; his last, the 26th of his career, will come at the New York Marathon. He finished in 2:17:01, citing heat as one factor.
Keflezighi headed over to shake the hand of the father of Martin Richard, the 8-year-old who was killed in the 2013 bombings. The two have become close, he said, and he acknowledged that he’ll always be linked to the victims because of his emotional 2014 win.
Kiplagat, a 37-year-old mother of two from Kenya, won in an unofficial time of 2:21:52, with Rose Chelimo of Bahrain second in 2:22:51 and Jordan Hasay of the U.S. third in 2:23:00. Kiplagat added Boston to her New York, London and Los Angeles marathon victories.
The 121st running of the Boston Marathon — and the fourth since the bombings — began on a warm Patriots Day, with mobility-impaired competitors setting out first from Hopkinton, Mass. That brought two Swiss athletes across the finish line first, with record-setting performances.
Among notables in this year’s field is Kathrine Switzer, who will have a much easier time of it than she did 50 years ago when she was the first woman to officially compete in the race. Bobbi Gibb, who competed unofficially the year before Switzer, will be the grand marshal for the Patriots’ Day race.
Fifty years ago, Switzer’s boyfriend had to fend off a race official who sought to physically stop her from running. “I wasn’t there to prove anything,” she said (via the Boston Globe). “It wasn’t until Jock Semple attacked me did everything change.”
Switzer won the 1974 New York City Marathon and has done TV commentary of the Boston race for 37 years. In 2015, she created 261 Fearless, a nonprofit that wants to use running to empower women. (The 261 comes from her bib number in 1974; the BAA has since retired the number, but Switzer is wearing it Monday.)
“What happened to me was a radicalizing experience. And it was one that made me bound and determined to change things for women,” she said. “Running had given me everything, and I wanted other women to feel that as well.
“Women who are empowered can change the whole society around them for the better and running — I know it sounds crazy — but one foot in front of the other, it’s a transformational experience.”
That’s how Rahaf Khatib, who will be running her seventh marathon, got into running. This time, she will be running to benefit Syrian refugees. Khatib, the 33-year-old Muslim daughter of Syrian immigrants, lives in Michigan and has raised $16,000. “Where I live, it’s a crisis,” Khatib told CNN, “I personally as a stay-at-home mom couldn’t contribute financially, and I felt like I had to help.” So she took up running and became the first woman wearing a hijab to be featured on Women’s Running magazine cover.
Also among the notables will be Ben Beach, who, at 67, will attempt to become the first person to compete in 50 consecutive Boston Marathons.