Ethiopia’s Atsede Baysa staged one of the greatest come-from-behind victories in Boston Marathon history last year when she overcame a 37-second deficit prior to the Mile 22 marker and won the women’s race in decisive fashion.
With the temperature in the upper 60s and sun shining down, Baysa overtook the leaders just beyond Mile 24. This year she plans to use a different tactic.
“I will try my best to be with all the athletes and to run with the same pace as the others before running a little bit faster,” said Baysa.
After winning Boston last year, there was very little she wanted to change with how she trained for Monday’s race. And her plan remained simple: win or lose doing her best.
“I don’t think I feel any pressure,” said Baysa, whose personal best of 2 hours, 22 minutes, 3 seconds came at the 2012 Chicago Marathon. “I have done all my training that I am supposed to do and even though you sometimes win, you lose at times as well.”
Joining Baysa in representing Ethiopia among the elite women will be Buzunesh Deba — who was awarded the 2014 Boston Marathon title and the women’s course record (2:19:59) after Kenyan Rita Jeptoo was stripped of the crown for a doping violation — and Ruti Aga.
But some of Baysa’s biggest challengers could come from Kenya. Caroline Rotich, the 2015 Boston champion, returns after failing to finish last year’s race because of injury. Valentine Kipketer and Joyce Chepkirui were part of the group Baysa passed last year late on her way to the podium. Gladys Cherono has competed in only two marathons, but her blistering personal best of 2:19:25 in Berlin in 2015 ranks among the all-time best for women marathoners.
And then there is Edna Kiplagat, a decorated runner competing in her first Boston Marathon. Kiplagat has won the Abbott World Marathon Majors Series twice and is the only woman to successfully defend her title at the IAAF World Championships, doing so in 2011 and 2013. She’s also won in New York, London, and Los Angeles.
“This is my first time coming to Boston and it has been my plan all along to run this race,” said Kiplagat. “I would be very happy to win this race as part of my other accomplishments I have.”
Kiplagat expects a lot of similarities running New York and Boston, and she primarily kept her standard training regimen.
“It’s not a lot of different training from other races but I do try to add a bit more of strength because this is one of the toughest races,” said Kiplagat.
Among the Americans in the women’s elite field, Liz Costello will be making her marathon debut.
Costello, who resides in Brighton, finished sixth in the 10,000 meters at last year’s US Olympic trials. The former All-American at Princeton also came in ninth at the 2016 New York Half Marathon.
Desiree Linden, Blake Russell, Lindsay Flanagan, and Jordan Hasay (marathon debut) will also represent the United States in the women’s elite field.
Karl Capen can be reached at email@example.com.