On what was the 50th anniversary of the first official women’s race in the Boston Marathon’s long history, the 2022 field produced one of the most exciting women’s marathons ever, with the lead changing repeatedly in the closing stages and the finish resembling a tactical track cycling race.

The win was secured by Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir in 2:21:01 after enduring one of the toughest 26.2-mile tests of her career, only breaking decisively clear in the last 200 metres.

Four seconds back came Ababel Yeshaneh, who has now managed top three finishes in Chicago, New York and Boston.

The race had been expected to come down to a battle between Jepchirchir and London winner Joyciline Jepkosgei – and these two controlled much of the race.

The contest had started slowly with a 17:42 opening 5km from a leading group of 25, but the tempo was lifted by a minute in the second 5km as the pack – now 12-strong – went through 10km in 34:21 [16:39]. The two main protagonists wanted to go faster still, however, and again the pace was cranked up by almost another minute as 15km was reached in 50:10 [15:49] by what was now a leading quartet.

A 16:00 fourth 5km brought them through 20km in 66:10, while the halfway mark was passed in 69:41 and 25km in 1:22:20 [16:10]. Now it came down to the big three of Jepchirchir, Jepkosgei and Yeshaneh.

With seemingly the first three now established the pace through the hills slowed through 30km in 1:39:20 [17:00] and they were through 20 miles in 1:46:58.

The race remained tactical through 35km in 1:56:46 [17:26] and 40km in 2:13:39 [16:53], though it proved too much for Jepkosgei who covered that last full 5km outside 18 minutes and she ultimately dropped back to seventh.

As the pace slowed in those final miles, Jepchirchir was content to follow the taller Yeshaneh though, with the watch on 2:15, she sprinted past and opened up a 20-matre gap. The race appeared to be over but the Ethiopian fought back.

Yeshaneh lost five metres on the last right turn and then, as they hit the final straight on 2:18, Jepchirchir kicked again but her move was covered once more and it took one last surge to make sure of victory.

The winner said: “I was not expecting that. The course was tough. I was feeling strong but then fell behind but I didn’t lose hope.”

With all the tactical slowing over the closing miles, Mary Ngugi closed up well to finish third in 2:21:32, while close behind the former double world champion Edna Kiplagat had her best marathon since 2018 with fourth place in 2:21:40.

Source: AW