ROAD NEWS: Women's Running Roundup 16/04/2019

Well, that was a big old weekend and as is always the way, when there’s loads to write up time seems to disappear in home-life. So, sorry this is later than I’d like but …

B.A.A BOSTON MARATHON (IAAF gold & World Major), USA

Everyone has something to say about Boston and I’m not the world’s top commentator so instead of in depth commentary of the top 3 after the event, I thought I’d keep notes as the race went along and I listened to the web feed at work (even listening is a bit cheeky but if people can watch the world cup final at work, surely this is the equivalent!). I know a fair few of you WRR subscribers were actually running the race (jealous!) so I thought you’d like to get an idea of what happened and what info was being given on the coverage.

Ok, so they had thunderstorms beforehand and now it’s starting to warm up. Boston weather is crazy! No idea who this favours really. I’m so excited.. here we go!

Sarah Hall is at the front of the pack at the start, lovely to see her out there and a USA athlete at the fore. Through 5k in 17:34 (the men did 15:09) and there’s still all the big names in the pack – Degefa, Eshetu, Dibaba, Linden, Hasay, Kipyego, Ngugi, Cherop, Assefa, Flanagan, Saina and more.

Degefa takes the lead with a bit of  gap, then Cherop and Dibaba, then a gap and then Linden. The distance is growing between Degefa and the rest of them. Through 10k in 33:58 which is on pace for a 2:24 marathon. Degefa has run a 5’18 mile at mile 7. Can she really hold this kind of pace when she hasn’t got experience of a rolling course? Mario Fraioli is on the course and thinks she’ll come back at the hills. I’d agree. One down side of this massive lead is that we’re not really hearing much about the rest of the pack - I’d love to know what’s going on with Sarah Sellers, Krista Duchene (2nd and 3rd from last year) as well as our own Aly Dixon. Ah well.

15k and Degefa has a huge lead. Des is pushing the pace in the chase pack a little bit 2:08 into the race but Degefa still has a 2’43 lead. Oh, ok, Des has fallen back again now. No Des! No! You can do this!

Degefa has lost a bit of her lead on the Newton Hills but not as much as I’d expect. Jordan Hasay seems to be the only challenger for the US now (2:18 into the race). Oh no, Des is hanging on! Where’s Betsy Saina?

 Mile 20 and Degefa has dropped a 5’45 mile. That’s a significant drop from mile 7 but this is the HARD part of Boston and that’s still blistering. Kiplagat is behind her and then Hasay. Kiplagat looks strong and focussed. I’m geekily-messaging my mate Marathon Girl Gemma Hockett and she’s a huge Edna fan - she says she’s rock hard and I’d have to agree. Isn’t she going to be masters age next year?

35k in and Kiplagat has managed to get 30” off Degefa’s lead but we’ve only got about 20mins to go. She’s got a 2’26 lead (she had a 3min lead for a while). Hasay is top American and Des Linden is in 8th place with a 3’30 gap from the leader but she’s trying to move up. Kiplagat has managed to get the gap down to under 2minutes but we’ve only got about 13mins left in the race, I don’t think it’s long enough.


Yup, Degefa has won in 2:23:31. A way off her dubai 2:17 but in Boston, I’ll check, but I think that’s pretty decent. Wow. I really didn’t expect her to manage to hold on like that. I’ll be interested to look at her half-half splits. Kiplagat was incredibly strong and finished in 2nd just 42s behind and Jordan Hasay has put all those injury demons away from her with a 3rd podium in 3 marathons and 2:25:20. Assefa Meskerem  4th in 2:25:40 and then Des Linden took 5th in a time way faster than her win last year – 2:27:00.

Side note - everyone else I’m tracking is definitely finding it tough out there. There are some seriously gutsy performances going on. It seems like it’s really hotting up t’s mad how you can see everyone’s pace crashing at the 20/21 mile mark.

So… Degefa proved us wrong. It was her first Major - will she go for another in the World Major Series? I have to say, she doesn’t look massively happy about it initially, but cheers up when talking about her massive lead in her interview with CBS here. To be fair, I think she was cold. Edna Kiplagat isa absolute marathon veteran and showed her class, even at aged 39 and Jordan Hasay got her 3rd podium in 3 marathons.

Here’s a few other notable bits and pieces..

Marathon Debutante Mary Wacera Ngugi (I: @maryngugi) had a fantastic race, coming 7th in 2:28:33sums up the Boston course. She sums ip the race saying “The course was so tough ! There is no flat spells, and actually the downhills really do cause problems. Today my quads are on fire “.


This feeling was echoed by USA and Nike Oregon Project’s Sally Kipyego but with a different outcome as she pulled out at mile 18. Watch her interview below - she talks about how even though she train on downhills, she still vastly underestimated the impact. She also explains that with a 1yr 8month daughter, her body is weak in ways she hadn’t expected and her immune system is bad. She summarises by say ‘yeah it sucks’

Linsday Flanagan (USA) was 11th with one mile to go and finished 9th, which is a rather decent finishing push if you ask me.

Fionnuala McCormack of Ireland had a storming race, coming 11th in a new PB but sadly just 38 seconds outside the Olympic qualifying time. She wasn’t even on the press-issued elite list (though she did have an elite start).

GB’s Aly Dixon came 15th went through half way in 1:14:19 and finished in 2:35:43 (12 min positive split). Apparently her quads are complaining now ;)


Kate Landau (I: @Katelandau), 42, USA, was 13th and age group winner in 2:31:56 and a 1:30 PB. She only decided 6 weeks ago to run Boston rather than Grandma’s marathon as originally planned. She also change coaches at the same time thanks to James McKirdy getting her a place at the race and impressing her in the process. Interestingly, Kate’s is the first PB within the finisher list (discounting a marathon debut). It certainly wasn’t a day for ground breaking performances.

Last year’s 2nd place, Sarah Sellers ran 5s adrift of her 1028 pace to come 19th while last year’s 3rd place Krista Duchene also ran the same time - 2:44 and struggled with the humidity.

Joan Benoit Samuelson, now 61, ran within 30 minutes of her winning time in 1979. Dave McGilivray, Boston race director finished the race as he always does after everyone else has finished - only this year he’d had a triple heart by[ass not long ago.

Oh and I know we’re about the women here but a huge ‘respect’ - nod to the men’s 1 and 2 for an awe inspiring sprint finish! You need to watch this!

You can see the full spreadsheet of finish times Vs PB and Ranking pre Vs post here.

  1. Worknesh Degefa, ETH, 2:23:21

  2. Edna Kiplagat, KEN. 2:24:13

  3. Jordan Hasay, USA. 2:25:20


Just days before other, sadder, Paris news overtook all things running, the marathon was won by Ethiopias

  1. Gelete Burka, ETH 2:22:47 (PB 2:20:45 Jan ‘18, Dubai)

  2. Azmera Gebru, 2:22:52

  3. Azmera Abreha, 2:23:35

  4. Clemence Calvin, 2:23:41

  5. Sally Chepyego, 2:23:53

Full results here


  1. Beatrice Cherop, KEN 2:35:22

  2. Anna Lapinska, POL 2:38:41

  3. Elena Dolinin, ISR 2:38:46

Full results here


Results here if you can read chinese


3rd time in a row and faster each time for Helen Davies of Ipswich Jaffa AC, as she won in 2:34:08  in windy conditions. It’s Jo O’Regan though that blows my mind, finishing in 2:49:41 and 3rd place… a week after finishing 3rd place at Manchester Marathon. Right then!

  1. Helen Davies 2:34:08

  2. Jill Collet 2:48:16

  3. Johanna O’Regan 2:49:41


Not quite Degefa, but Hannah Peel won in 03:09:26 . Full results here


5TH Fastest female marathoner in history, 2nd in 2017 and 5000m world record holder Tirunesh Dibaba has pulled out of London Marathon. According to the press release, this is for personal reasons. London Marathon’s website reports some other DNS’s :

USA’s Allie Kiefer, who was seventh at last November’s TCS New York City Marathon, has withdrawn as has Denmark’s Anna Holm Jorgensen – the daughter of Henrik Jorgensen, the 1988 London Marathon champion who died earlier this year.

Swiss pair Maude Mathys and Martina Strahl have both also pulled out, as has Ireland’s Emma Mitchell and the British duo Eleanor Davis and Laura Graham.

Full London preview to come early next week


A bit of a pause before London next weekend..

20th Yellow River Estuary International Marathon , CHN (Gold Label)

21st, Nagano Marathon , JPN (Bronze Label)

Yangzhou Jianzhen International Half Marathon , CHN (Gold label)