On 18th April 2022, Peres Jepchirchir and Evans Chebet brought wins to Kenya for the women’s and men’s pro divisions of the Boston Marathon, respectively. The 26.2-mile race began on Main Street in Hopkinson with 30,000 participants, and ended on Boylston Street in Boston’s Back Bay. This was the 126th Boston Marathon, making it the oldest in the world, and only the 50th anniversary of the first women’s competition.
Kenya left no small mark at the Marathon this year. For Jepchirchir, this was a remarkable winning streak as it was her fourth consecutive marathon win, and her third win in a year – the latter being a feat no athlete, male or female, had achieved. When interviewed on TV following the trophy presentation, Jepchirchir expressed her joy at the victory and her confidence that there were more to come.
Jepchirchir’s running time was 2:21:01, four seconds shorter than Ethiopia’s Arabel Yeshaneh. Yeshaneh though did not give Jepchirchir an easy time as the lead changed between both athletes eight times within the final mile. Jepchirchir finally held the lead on Boylston Street with about 400 yards to go. Her time was the third fastest in Boston Marathon History.
Evans Chebet finished the race in a time of 2:06:51, winning over fellow Kenyans, Lawrence Chirono and Benson Kipruto. Chirono was the winner in 2019 while Kipruto won in 2021, thus marking three consecutive wins for Kenya in the men’s pro division of the marathon.
Record breaker, Peres Jepchirchir has led an impressive career since she started running marathons professionally in 2013. The 27-year-old started with road races and cross country races in South Africa and Kenya before being noticed by Italian Gianni Demadonna’s team, and being invited to prestigious European road races. In 2014, she won three consecutive races in France. The following year, she failed to finish the 2015 London Marathon, but bounced back victoriously in the Prague Grand Prix and Ústí nad Labem Half Marathon later that year. Her running times that year placed her seventh on the year’s top lists. In 2016, she led her team to victory at the IAAF World Marathon Championships despite being the least popular and experienced in the Kenyan team. Following world championships and an Olympic win, Jepchirchir has broken numerous world records and made a formidable name for herself as a world class athlete.
Evans Chebet has also cemented his name as a world class athlete. The 33-year-old started running international marathons in 2011, but did not see his first win till the 2019 Bueno Aires Marathon which he finished in a time of 2:05:00. He went on to win 2 more consecutive races, the Lake Biwa Marathon and the Valencia Marathon, in 2020 before his winning streak was ended by his placement of 4th at the 2021 London Marathon. He was able to claim his winning title back at the 2022 Boston Marathon. His win at the Valencia Marathon in 2020 was a world record at the time, at 2:03:00.