Two-time Boston Marathon champion Moses Tanui watched in agony as, for the fourth year running, Kenyan men saw the Boston title snatched from under their noses by arch-rivals Ethiopia.
Tanui, winner in 1996 and 1998, was in Kapsabet in the company of over 250 elite athletes who gathered at a Boston Marathon party organised by Bank of Africa at 2008 Olympic 800 metres champion Wilfred Bungei’s Tortoise Hotel to watch the race.
It was the 120th running of the Boston Marathon, which is run on Patriots’ Day each year, making it the oldest consistently-run race in the world.
And after the early exchanges between Kenyan and Ethiopian elites, the runners from Addis Ababa had the last laugh, with winner Lemy Berhanu Hayle and defending champion Lelisa Desisa breaking away with about 15 kilometres to go for a 1-2-3 finish, Yemane Adhane squeezing in ahead of Cherang’any MP Wesley Korir for third place.
Atsede Baysa of Ethiopia (2:29:19) snatched the women’s title from Kenya with Joyce Chepkirui (2:30:50) third.
The 21-year-old Hayle’s winning time was two hours, 12 minutes and 45 seconds, almost 10 minutes slower than Kenya’s Geoffrey Mutai’s course record 2:03:02 set in the 2011 race.
Mutai pulled out of this year’s race as he continues to recover from a leg fracture, and his 2011 winning time would have been a world record but since Boston’s undulating course does not comply with world record specifications, it was just a course record.
And since mheshimiwa Wesley Korir won the race in 2012, no Kenyan man has triumphed in Boston, a factor that Tanui puts down to lack of focus.
“Boston is not about speed because there is no way you can break a world record in Boston,” said Tanui.
“The Kenyans are still playing into the hands of Ethiopia by setting an early paces and fading away when it matters most,” added Tanui.
The athletes in Kapsabet were given investment advice by Bank of Africa and also on taxation issues by Kenya Revenue Authority while the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya offered anti-doping education.
IAAF director of communications Anna Legnani, also attended the Kapsabet forum that also featured present and past Rome, Paris and Tokyo marathon champions Cyprian Kotut, Amos Kipruto, Dickson Chumba and ex-800m world champion Wilson Kipketer of Denmark.