Johannesburg — A strong African field led by Kenya’s Peres Jepchirchir on Tuesday was announced for the Boston Marathon women’s race.
The event takes place on April 18, and the Olympic marathon champion will line up as favourite. Jepchirchir, however, will face stiff competition from her compatriot and 2021 London Marathon winner Joyciline Jepkosgei.
The 28-year-old Jepchirchir has the fastest Personal Best (PB) in the field with her 2:17:16 she ran at the Valencia Marathon in 2020.
“My high expectation is to be a winner and I would like to arrive at the day of the race in my best shape,” said Jepchirchir. “I have time enough to prepare for it and I will do my best in training to be ready to run against some of the best marathon runners in the world.”
Jepkosgei though, is not far behind with her PB of 2:17:43 which she clocked with her win in London last year. Also aged 28, the pair could be in for a serious battle for top honours if they both have a good race.
The third sub-2:18 runner in the race will be Ethiopian Degitu Azimeraw. The rapidly improving 22-year-old already has a PB of 2:17:58. In fact, Azimeraw produced the best performance of her young career at the London Marathon last year when she set her impressive PB, as she finished second behind Jepkosgei.
Another Ethiopian expected to provide a strong challenge will be Roza Dereje. At 24-years-old Dereje is already ranked seventh in the world rankings in the women’s marathon.
At the Tokyo Olympics last year, Dereje finished fourth in gruelling conditions to end one spot away from a podium position in her first appearance at the quadrennial showpiece. Dereje’s PB of 2:18:30 is also the fourth fastest in the field, a time which she clocked at the Valencia Marathon in 2019 when she claimed victory.
Completing the top Ethiopian trio will be Zeineba Yimer, who is more than capable of staying in contention for the entire 42.2km. The 23-year-old has a PB of 2:19:28, which she managed at the Valencia Marathon in 2019 to finish runner-up behind Dereje.
Completing the seven sub 2:20 runners in the quality field will be Kenya’s Edna Kiplagat (2:19:50) and Ethiopian Tigist Girma (2:19:52). The 42-year-old Kiplagat is a former Boston Marathon champion, having won the title in 2017. Kiplgat’s PB, however, came way back in 2012 and will have her work cut out to stay in the chasing pack.
The 28-year-old Girma, meanwhile, ran her PB at the Amsterdam Marathon in 2019 when she finished second.
Boston Marathon women’s field:
Peres Jepchirchir (KEN) 2:17:16
Joyciline Jepkosgei (KEN) 2:17:43
Degitu Azimeraw (ETH) 2:17:58
Roza Dereje (ETH) 2:18:30
Zeineba Yimer (ETH) 2:19:28
Edna Kiplagat (KEN) 2:19:50
Tigist Girma (ETH) 2:19:52
Maurine Chepkemoi (KEN) 2:20:18
Sara Hall (USA) 2:20:32
Desiree Linden (USA) 2:22:38
Viola Cheptoo (KEN) 2:22:44
Purity Changwony (KEN) 2:22:46
Charlotte Purdue (GBR) 2:23:26
Kellyn Taylor (USA) 2:24:28
Molly Seidel (USA) 2:24:42
Malindi Elmore (CAN) 2:24:50
Mary Ngugi (KEN) 2:25:20
Monicah Ngige (KEN) 2:25:32
Natasha Wodak (CAN) 2:26:19
Nell Rojas (USA) 2:27:12
Stephanie Bruce (USA) 2:27:47
Dakotah Lindwurm (USA) 2:29:04
Roberta Groner (USA) 2:29:09
Angie Orjuela (COL) 2:29:12
Bria Wetsch (USA) 2:29:50
Maegan Krifchin (USA) 2:30:17
Elaina Tabb (USA) 2:30:33
Lexie Thompson (USA) 2:30:37
Kate Landau (USA) 2:31:56