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Meet the elite women’s Boston Marathon field

A look at the field of elite runners who will compete in the Boston Marathon on April 15 (see the men’s elite field):

Sharon Cherop

  • Personal Best: 2:22:39 (Dubai, 2012)

  • Age: 29

  • Country: Kenya

  • Boston Marathon: First in 2012 (2:31:50).

  • Of Notes: Cherop’s experience proved to be the deciding factor in her win at the Boston Marathon last year, despite the record heat. In her Boston debut two years earlier, Cherop ran in synch with Caroline Kilel and American Desiree Davila until the final meters, but could not keep pace. Cherop is a past marathon champion in Toronto and Hamburg.


Meseret Hailu Debele

  • Personal Best: 2:21:09 (Amsterdam, 2012)

  • Age: 22

  • Country: Ethiopia

  • Boston Marathon: Debut

  • Of Notes: Won the 2012 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Kavarna to help Ethiopia take the team gold. Two weeks later, ran a stunning 2:21:09 in Amsterdam to set a new course record over a talented field. In February, she set the Ethiopian national record in the half marathon (66:56) with a fourth-place finish at the Ras al Khaimah Half Marathon.

Tirfi Tsegaye Beyene

  • Personal Best: 2:21:19 (Berlin, 2012)

  • Age: 28

  • Country: Ethiopia

  • Boston Marathon: 11th in 2011 (2:27:29)

  • Of Notes: Winning two of her last three marathons and placing runner-up in the third, Tsegaye has only finished out of the podium once in 11 career starts. Most recently, Tsegaye won the Dubai Marathon, beating countrywoman Ehitu Kiros by 16 seconds. In 2012 she set a course record at the Paris Marathon and finished runner up in Berlin (2:21:19).

Mamitu Daska

  • Personal Best: 2:21:59 (Frankfurt, 2011)

  • Age: 29

  • Country: Ethiopia

  • Boston Marathon: Debut

  • Of Notes: After making her marathon debut with a third-place finish in Berlin in 2009, she won three of her next four marathons, capturing Dubai, Houston and Frankfurt. Daska was the champion of the 2008 and 2010 Bolder Boulder 10K and the 2008 Falmouth Road Race.

Rita Jeptoo

  • Personal Best: 2:22:04 (Chicago, 2012)

  • Age: 32

  • Country: Kenya

  • Boston Marathon: Sixth in 2012 (2:35:53), third in 2008 (2:26:34), fourth in 2007 (2:33:08), first in 2006 (2:23:38)

  • Of Notes: Jeptoo is a marathon champion of Boston, Eldoret, Milan and Stockholm. Jeptoo has finished in the top seven in 15 career marathons. Last fall, she finished runner-up in Chicago by one second to improve her personal best time to 2:22:04.

Madai Perez

  • Personal Best: 2:22:59 (Chicago, 2006)

  • Age: 33

  • Country: Mexico

  • Boston Marathon: 14th in 2010 (2:36:04), third in 2007 (2:30:16)

  • Of Notes: Pérez is the Mexican national record-holder in the marathon with her time of 2:22:59 in the 2006 Chicago Marathon. In 2011, she won the silver medal at the Pan American Games. She was unable to participate in the 2012 London Olympics because of an injury.

Alemitu Abera Begna

  • Personal Best: 2:23:14 (Houston, 2012)

  • Age: 27

  • Country: Ethiopia

  • Boston Marathon: Debut

  • Of Notes: Made marathon debut in Istanbul in 2009, and has steadily improved while averaging three marathons per year. She holds the course record in Daegu with a 2:24:57. In 2005, Abera finished second in the 3,000m and fourth in the 5,000m at the Tunis-Rades African Junior Championships.

Tetiana Gamera-Shmyrko

  • Personal Best: 2:23:58 (Osaka, 2013)

  • Age: 29

  • Country: Ukraine

  • Boston Marathon: Debut

  • Of Notes: Transitioned to the marathon in 2011 by setting a course record at the Krakow Marathon, then finished 15th at the IAAF World Championships Marathon. At the 2011 Osaka Marathon in January, she finished runner-up and set a national record of 2:24:46. Elena Shurkhno broke her national record in September in Berlin (2:23:32), but Gamera-Shmyrko improved her personal-best with a win early this year in Osaka.

Kara Goucher

  • Personal Best: 2:24:52 (Boston, 2011)

  • Age: 34

  • Country: USA

  • Boston Marathon: fifth in 2011 (2:24:52), third in 2009 (2:32:25)

  • Of Notes: Returns to Boston for the third time after making her second Olympic Team. At the London Olympics, she finished 11th. At her first Boston Marathon in 2009, she shared the lead until the final meters and finished third. In 2011, less than seven months after giving birth, she finished fifth at Boston in a personal-best 2:24:52, becoming the fourth fastest American women of all time.

Shalane Flanagan

  • Personal Best: 2:25:38 (Houston, 2012)

  • Age: 31

  • Country: USA

  • Boston Marathon: Debut

  • Of Notes: Flanagan is a three-time Olympian and holds North and Central American records in the indoor 3,000 and 5,000 meters. Both of her indoor American records were earned in Boston Reebok Indoor Games, in 2007 and 2009. Flanagan was also runner-up in her 2010 marathon debut in New York City. A graduate of the University of North Carolina, Flanagan won national cross-country titles in 2002 and 2003.

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