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Ethiopia's champions in Boston to defend marathon titles

20 April, 2017, 11:14 | Author: Mae Harvey
  • Geoffrey Kirui won the men's 2017 Boston Marathon

Keflezighi became the first American to win the Boston Marathon in more than three decades in 2014 with a time of 2:08:37.

For years, the traditional wisdom has held that running the marathon, especially successfully at the highest levels, requires several attempts at the distance and a long background in distance running.

Switzer's coach in 1967 was a 15-time Boston Marathoner and didn't think a woman could do it - which energized Switzer to try. She won the New York City marathon in 1974. I realized I wasn't going to get a good pace. "I knew I had to finish the race, because no one would believe women could do it unless I did", Switzer reflected to ABC News. I was going to run back (to his hotel in Brookline), because it was only 2 miles. At the time, no woman had ever officially signed up for the race.

Spitzer said her return to the race in 2017 was a way to, "celebrate the fact, first of all, that I can run - that I'm capable of doing it, amazingly enough, and I'm very, very grateful for that".

This will be the last time anyone wears bib number 261, as officials have retired the number in honor of Switzer. Kiplagat finished in 2:21:53.

Monday's race also served as a point of reflection for Switzer.

"The wind is so important", Hug said.

Earlier Monday, city officials announced plans for memorials to mark the sites where two bombs exploded during the 2013 race.

Other top men's contenders include Kenya's Emmanuel Mutai, who won the 2011 London marathon, Ethiopia's Yemane Tsegay, who finished third in Boston in 2016, with the top American contender Galen Rupp of Portland, Oregon, fresh off a bronze in the Olympic marathon in Rio de Janeiro.

"If I can come back", he said, "everyone can".

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