NEW YORK, April 17 – Kenya's Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot hopes history will repeat itself in the 115th Boston Marathon as he seeks to defend his title against a field that is both experienced and deep in talent.The 22-year-old Cheruiyot will have his work cut out for him in Monday’s race after breaking the course record by more than a minute in last year’s race.
Cheruiyot, who is recovering from a car accident that injured his right side, will be challenged by fellow Kenyan Geoffrey Mutai, who is the fastest in the field having run a 2:04:55 in Rotterdam, Ethiopian Gebre Gebremariam, who won in New York in October in his marathon debut, and 2008 Chicago Marathon winner Evans Cheruiyot of Kenya.
They will be chasing a total purse this year of $806,000 with $150,000 in first-place prize money.
With the exception of 2001, when South Korea’s Lee Bong-ju finished first, men from Kenya or Ethiopia have won every single Boston race since 1991.
Cheruiyot blitzed the field in 2010 as he finished in a superb 2:05:52, slashing 82 seconds off the previous mark set in 2006.
He says one of the keys to his success is that when he steps on the Boston course he feels like he’s at home.
"I was surprised to run 2:05 in Boston. So many people in Kenya said, ‘Robert has done a good thing.’ So many people know my tactics," Cheruiyot said. "It’s difficult, but the place we train is like Boston. There is no difference."
Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia has the world marathon record with a 2:03:59 run in Berlin in 2008.
Ethiopia’s Teyba Erkesso is back to defend her women’s title against a field that includes four-time Boston winner Catherine Ndereba, 2008 winner Dire Tune, and US Olympian Kara Goucher. Two years ago, Goucher finished third in Boston.
The top American hope on the men’s side is Ryan Hall, who placed fourth last year after finishing third in 2009.
Hall hasn’t run a marathon since Boston last year but competed in the New York half marathon in March where he placed 21st.
Monday’s forecast calls for a high of 16 degrees Celsius (62 Fahrenheit) and a wind of 38 kilometres per hour (24 mph).