Monday, April 18, 2011

Mutai, Kilel Win Wild 115th Boston Marathon

Men's champion produces fastest marathon ever; Davila women's runner-up and Hall fastest American all-time under near perfect racing conditions on historic point-to-point, downhill course
By Jim Gerweck, Running USA wire

BOSTON - (April 18, 2011) - The 115th running of the Boston Marathon on Monday turned out to be one of the record books - it just depends on which ones you want to rewrite.

Kenya's Geoffrey Mutai, 29, ran the fastest marathon in history - 2 hours, 3 minutes, 2 seconds - a time 57-seconds faster than the world record set by Haile Gebrselassie at Berlin in 2008 and an almost incomprehensible three minutes better than Robert Kiprono Cheryuoit's course record of 2:05:52, which was deemed virtually untouchable when he set it last year. Mutai's mark will not count as a world record, however, because the Boston course exceeds the IAAF limits on drop and separation from start to finish. Similarly, Ryan Hall's fourth place U.S. course record 2:04:58 won't erase Khalid Khannouchi's 2:05:38 from London 2002 as the U.S. record. In short, the Boston course is not record standard.

But none of those technicalities can fully take away from the incredible performances that 26,964 runners crafted on the roads from Hopkinton to Boston, pushed along by an aiding tailwind and running under near perfect temperatures in the mid-50s.
Mutai's countryman Moses Mosop finished four seconds behind to become the second-fastest marathoner ever as well as the fastest first-time marathoner (the old debut mark was Evans Rutto's 2:05:50 from Chicago in 2003). Ethiopia's Gebre Gebremariam, the 2010 ING New York City Marathon winner, finished in 2:04:53, just ahead of 2008 Olympian Hall, and seven of the top 8 men set personal bests.

On the women's side, the 26-year drought of American winners came within two tantalizing seconds of being ended, as Desiree Davila traded surges with Caroline Kilel over the last three miles before the Kenyan pulled away in the final meters on Hereford Street to win in 2:22:36. Davila, a member of the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project out of Rochester Hills, MI, becomes the third fastest U.S. woman ever for the distance, and her time of 2:22:38 bettered Joan Benoit's venerable 1983 mark of 2:22:43 as the best U.S. female time ever run at Boston. Benoit Samuelson, 53, a late entrant in this year's race, won the women's 50-54 division in 2:51:29.

"I didn't plan on going through the half in under 62," said Hall of his 61:58 split. "But the weather was great, I felt good, and the guys were helping to push the pace. I figured I'd be aggressive, get some quicker splits and try to get ahead of schedule, and we definitely did that." As he has in his past two runs at Boston, Hall led early, faded a bit in the Newton hills, then regrouped to mount a strong charge in the final run in from Cleveland Circle.

Mutai was quick to acknowledge Hall's role in setting up the record run. "He made the race fast for all of us," Mutai said. "Once I got in front I felt good and kept pushing. It is easier for me to run by myself and keep my own pace, and not respond to other runners."

While Hall, 28, was accompanied by a large pack from the start, the women's race threatened to turn into a runaway from the gun as Kim Smith, the Olympian from New Zealand living in nearby Providence, bolted to a lead that grew to almost a minute by halfway, passed in just under 71 minutes. Smith's legs started to cramp about five miles later and she was passed by the chase group at 30K.

It was then that the real racing began. "Our plan was for Desi to run 5:30 pace to that point, then run 33:20 for the last 10K," said Kevin Hanson, who with his brother Keith coaches the team's runners and underwrites their expenses. Coming off the hills, Davila, 27, ran 5:14 for the 22nd mile and 5:17 for the subsequent split, reducing the pack to three.

Over the final two miles she threw in several surges that brought her to the front, but each time Kilel, 30, was able to cover the move. The final gambit was made as the pair turned onto Hereford Street, but when Kilel reclaimed the lead that was it. "My legs were totally spent," said Davila, who has PRed in each of her marathons since debuting with a 2:44:56 in the Nor'easter Boston race of 2007. The winning sprint left Kilel sprawled on the ground past the finish.

American and 2008 Olympian Kara Goucher placed fifth in 2:24:52, a 59-second PR some seven months after giving birth to her first child. "I'm happy with my effort," she said. "I would have liked to have been in the mix a bit more, but that's how it goes. I can't be upset with running a PR. Now I want to get on the track and get back to the World Championships in the 10K."

Hall stated a similar intent. "I want to work on getting a bit faster turnover," he said. "But overall, I'm pretty happy with how my training's gone, and how it's worked out. I may tweak things a little here and there - running's a continual experiment. Whether this an American record or not doesn't matter - I've got 2:04:58 next to my name and that's all that matters."

115th B.A.A. Boston Marathon
Boston, MA, Monday, April 18, 2011

1) Geoffrey Mutai (KEN), 2:03:02*, $225,000
2) Moses Mosop (KEN), 2:03:06, $75,000
3) Gebre Gebremariam (ETH), 2:04:53, $40,000
4) Ryan Hall (USA / CA), 2:04:58#, $25,000
5) Abreham Cherkos (ETH), 2:06:13, $15,000
6) Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot (KEN), 2:06:43, $12,000
7) Philip Kimutai Sanga (KEN), 2:07:10, $9000
8) Deressa Chimsa (ETH), 2:07:39, $7400
9) Bekana Daba (ETH), 2:08:03, $5700
10) Robert Kipchumba (KEN), 2:08:44, $4200
11) Peter Kamais (KEN), 2:09:50, $2600
12) Juan Carlos Cardona (COL), 2:12:17, $2100
13) Gilbert Yegon (KEN), 2:13:00, $1800
14) Migidio Bourifa, 42, ITA, 2:13:45, $11,700 (first Master)
15) Abe Toyoyuki (JPN), 2:15:48, $1500 

*world best (fastest marathon all-time), course record (previous course record, 2:05:52, Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot (KEN), 2010) 

#U.S. best (fastest U.S. marathon all-time), U.S. course record (previous U.S. course record, 2:08:41, Ryan Hall (CA), 2010)  

NOTE: point-to-point, downhill Boston course is not record standard per IAAF and USATF rules.

1) Bourifa (see above)
2) Franklin Tenorio, 41, ECU, 2:17:56, $5000
3) Boudalia Said, 42, MAR, 2:18:31, $2500

1) Caroline Kilel (KEN), 2:22:36, $150,000
2) Desiree Davila (USA / MI), 2:22:38*, $75,000
3) Sharon Cherop (KEN), 2:22:42, $40,000
4) Caroline Rotich (KEN), 2:24:26, $25,000
5) Kara Goucher (USA / OR), 2:24:52, $15,000
6) Dire Tune (ETH), 2:25:08, $12,000
7) Werknesh Kidane (ETH), 2:26:15, $9000
8) Yolanda Caballero (COL), 2:26:17, $7400
9) Alice Timbilili (KEN), 2:26:34, $5700
10) Yuliya Ruban (UKR), 2:27:00, $4200
11) Tirfi Tsegaye (ETH), 2:27:29, $2600
12) Woynishet Girma (ETH), 2:28:48, $2100
13) Hellen Mugo (KEN), 2:29:06, $1800
14) Silvia Skvortsova (RUS), 2:29:14, $1700
15) Tatyana Pushkareva (RUS), 2:29:20, $1500
*U.S. course record (previous U.S. course record, 2:22:43, Joan Benoit (ME), 1983)

1) Larisa Zyusko, 41, RUS, 2:34:22, $10,000
2) Svetlana Zakharova, 40, RUS, 2:35:47, $5000
3) Shannon Mchale, 40, USA / CT, 2:43:46, $2500

For complete race results and more, go to: 

Special thanks to
Ryan Lamppa, Running USA Media Services Director.
385 Oak View Lane
Santa Barbara, CA 93111
(805) 696-6232, fax (805) 967-5958

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