After splits of 15:10, 30:21 and 64:28 for 5K, 10K and half way,
more than 20 men still were in contention at the midway point.
The rolling hills and steadily increasing humidity could have
been expected to take a progressive toll as the race
transitioned into Newton, but no one relented.
On the first of the three infamous Newton hills, Geoffrey
Kirui took the initiative, then a mile later it was American
Scott Fauble moving towards the front.
Fauble later commented: "It was such a surreal experience to
lead a race that I grew up watching."
The gloves finally came off at 21 miles, when the leaders had
been trimmed to seven: Fauble, Kirui, Desisa, Cherono, Kipkemoi,
Philemon Rono, and Felix Kandie.
Kirui appeared particularly comfortable, as did Kipkemboi,
despite having lost 100 meters earlier in the race when he was
forced to stop to adjust his shoe.
With five miles still to run, the outcome remained impossible
With the Newton hills behind them, Kirui assumed control.
Increasing the tempo gradually, the 2017 champion covered mile
23 to 24 in a withering 4:31.
Talam was dropped; ironically, it was a move that also proved
Passing Fenway Park and entering Kenmore Square, the group
was down to three: Kipkemoi, Cherono and Desisa.
As Kipkemoi and Cherono battled shoulder to shoulder, Desisa
held his favored position—tucked in behind, waiting to unleash
the kick that has proved so effective so often.
Making the right turn onto Hereford Street in unison, Desisa
injected an increase in pace that brought him from third to
first inches ahead of the battling Kenyans.
Swinging left onto Boylston Street with the finish line
visible in the distance, Desisa surged again with hopes of
solidifying his third title.
Shoulder to shoulder along the finishing straight, Desisa
reached out as if to claw his way to the crown.
Yet with mere feet remaining, Cherono found a reserve of
speed that Desisa just could not match.
Desisa almost stumbled across the line, but Cherono forged
ahead, opening a two second margin and claiming the gold olive
wreath in 2:07:57.
"I am so grateful, so happy," stated the newly crowned
winner, whose victory was his first in an Abbott World Marathon
"To me, I am poor in finishing races. But today, I did a
fantastic job. It was very nice for me."
Cherono’s effort showed, as he had to be held on each side as
he made the champion’s walk to the awards platform.
Despite the pain, Cherono couldn’t help but smile and laugh
as he clutched the winner’s trophy.
"[At] 40K we were two and three people.
"So it was no man’s race to win," he recounted.
"But to me I keep on forecasting and the end I matched the
"So I am grateful and so happy."
Desisa took second in 2:07:59, with Kipkemoi rounding out the
podium in 2:08:07.
When asked if he was surprised he lost in a sprint, Desisa
shook his head and said "For me it is the first time."
Top American honors went to Fauble, finishing in 2:09:09 just
ahead of Jared Ward (2:09:25).
The masters division title was earned by Abdi Abdirahman in