Ethiopian 21-year-old Lemi Berhanu Hayle edged defending champion Lelisa Desisa while compatriot Atsede Baysa ran away from a world-class field to win at the 120th Boston Marathon on Monday.
Having covered the mile between 23 and 24 in 4:56, closing in on 40K (2:05:58) Hayle injected a surge just as Lelisa Desisa slowed for a water table.
It was a text-book move and the change was immediate. Within a handful of strides, Hayle had gained two, then ten, then 20 metres, and the deal was done.
“I was scared of Desisa,” commented Hayle after the race. “I only watched what he did.” If Desisa did nothing, so did Hayle. It seemed as if the field was keying off of the defending champion.
“I didn’t believe it until the finish line,” asserted Hayle, who’d break the finish tape in 2:12:45 after celebrating on Boylston Street. “I thought that somebody would still take over. I’m so very happy. I’ve won some races before this one, but today feels like my birthday.”
“The Boston Marathon is different to any other race,” stated Desisa. “The pace was very slow, but there was a wind if you went in front. There are no pacemakers, so if an athlete goes to the front, it’s hard to know how it will go.”
Desisa finished second in 2:13:32, followed by last year’s runner-up Yemane Adhane Tsegay of Ethiopia in third, in 2:14:02, with 2012 champion Wesley Korir of Kenya in fourth, in 2:14:05.
Baysa’s amazing comeback
Atsede Baysa recorded one of the greatest come-from-behind victories in the history of women’s racing at the Boston Marathon, coming from 37 seconds back at 35K, and blasting past the leaders just beyond mile 24 and going on to win in 2:29:19.
Baysa, who turned 29 on Saturday, became the fourth Ethiopian woman to win the Boston Marathon, following in the footsteps of Teyba Erkesso (2010), Dire Tune (2008) and Fatuma Roba (1997-1999).
“I was going on my own pace and confident because of my good training that I was going to catch up to them,” said Atsede Baysa, a veteran of more than two dozen marathons and a two-time winner of both the Bank of America Chicago Marathon (2010 and 2012) and the Paris Marathon (2009 and 2010) who was making her Boston debut.
“Once I got to catch up with the third one, I was confident that I was going to do it,” said Baysa. “I knew I had the energy and the power.”
“When I saw her (coming back at 35K), I knew she was going to win,” said Tsegaye of her training partner.
“I tried, but I knew she was stronger…so I went for second place,” added Tsegaye, winner of the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon three months ago in a personal best 2:19:41.
Selected Results – 120th Boston Marathon
- Hayle, Lemi Berhanu 2:12:45 ETH
- Desisa, Lelisa 2:13:32 ETH
- Tsegay, Yemane Adhane 2:14:02 ETH
- Korir, Wesley 2:14:05 KEN
- Lonyangata, Paul 2:15:45 KEN
- Kitwara, Sammy 2:16:43 KEN
- Chebogut, Stephen 2:16:52 KEN
- Nageeye, Abdi 2:18:05 NED
- Feleke, Getu 2:18:46 ETH
- Hine, Zachary 2:21:37 USA
- Nyasango, Cutbert 2:22:02 ZIM
- Mekonnen, Tsegaye 2:22:21 ETH
- Burrell, Ian 2:22:22 USA
- Kiprop, Jackson 2:24:44 UGA
- Okuti, Harbert 2:24:46 UGA
- Baysa, Atsede 2:29:19 ETH
- Tsegaye, Tirfi 2:30:03 ETH
- Chepkirui, Joyce 2:30:50 KEN
- Prokopcuka, Jelena 2:32:28 LAT
- Kipketer, Valentine 2:33:13 KEN
- Daniel, Flomena Cheyech 2:33:40 KEN
- Deba, Buzunesh 2:33:56 ETH
- Tola, Fate 2:34:38 ETH
- Spence Gracey, Neely 2:35:00 USA
- Daska, Mamitu 2:37:31 ETH
- Crouch, Sarah 2:37:36 USA
- Shimokado, Miharu 2:39:21 JPN
- Beriso, Amane 2:39:38 ETH
- Gelana, Tiki 2:42:38 ETH
- Bekele, Tadelech 2:44:20 ETH