BOSTON — The field is taking shape for the 2014 Boston Marathon, which will of course be the first since the bombings last April. The man who won that 2013 race, Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia is coming back to try to defend his title. You might remember he “gifted” the City of Boston his marathon winner’s medal as a sign of support for the victims, so maybe he’ll snare one to replace it. The defending women’s champ, Rita Jeptoo of Kenya, is also coming back.
The marathon’s main sponsor, John Hancock Financial, announced the field Tuesday, and the speed in this race is impressive. Seven men in the field have run under 2:05:30, including Desisa. He’s the top marathoner in the world, according to Track & Field News, after winning in Boston and Dubai and also finishing second in the World Championships in Moscow last summer. The No. 2 runner in the world is also coming to Boston. Dennis Kimetto ran to course record wins in Chicago and Tokyo last year.
Joining them is Kenyan Moses Mosop, who ran the second fastest marathon ever (2:03:06) in Boston in 2011, and Ethiopian Gebregziabher Gebremariam, who has finished third in the Boston Marathon twice and won the New York City Marathon in 2010.
Three-time Olympian Meb Keflezighi, who just won the USA Half Marathon title in Houston last weekend, leads the Americans in the April 21 race. Another three-time Olympian, Dathan Ritzenhein will be running his first Boston Marathon and Jason Hartmann is coming back after finishing fourth the last two years. Shalane Flanagan, who grew up in nearby Marblehead, Mass., finished fourth in the 2013 women’s race and his giving it another shot this year.
This will be the 118th running of the Boston Marathon and promises to be a very emotional day for the 36,000 runners who are expected to participate. The field size has been increased by 9,000 runners for the 2014 race because so many people want to run because they want to remember the bombings and honor the victims and survivors and the people who saved lives on April 15, 2013.