3 Thoughts On The 2017 Boston Marathon Field – Galen Rupp Has His Work Cut Out For Him, London vs. Boston and Is Galen Rupp The Favorite?

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by LetsRun.com
January 12, 2017

Earlier today, John Hancock released the full elite fields for the 2017 Boston Marathon. We analyze the men’s field below.

1) Galen Rupp will have his work cut out for him.

When it was announced the Galen Rupp would be running the 2017 Boston Marathon, conspiracy theorists wondered if Boston might try to water down the field to ensure another American victory. Well if you like a good conspiracy theory, we suggest you put on your tin hat and wait until next year as John Hancock has clearly spent some money and there is a nice amount of talent assembled to challenge Rupp this year.

On paper, the 2017 Boston Marathon field looks amazing. 2017 Boston has seven guys with PBs under 2:05 (2017 London has just four). 2017 Boston has nine guys with PBs under 2:06 (London has just seven).

2) Boston Is Strong, But London Is Still Much Stronger

The above stats are misleading. The Virgin Money London Marathon always assembles the best field in the land and that’s still without a doubt true this year. London is filled with a bunch of guys who are great and in their primes. Boston has many guys who are a bit past their primes.

Looking at the 11 men entered at 2017 London with sub-2:09 PBs, seven of them set their PBs in 2016, including all three of the top seeds (based on time).

2017 London Men’s FieldPR / Yr Set2016 SB2016 Accolades
Kenenisa Bekele (ETH)      2:03:03 (16)2:03:03Won Berlin
Stanley Biwott (KEN)                2:03:51 (16)2:03:512nd London
Tesfaye Abera (ETH)                 2:04:24 (16)2:04:24Won Dubai and Hamburg
Feyisa Lilesa (ETH)                  2:04:52 (12)2:06:56Won Tokyo, 2nd Olympics
Abel Kirui (KEN)                    2:05:04 (09)2:08:06Won Chicago
Daniel Wanjiru (KEN)                2:05:21 (16)2:05:21Won Amsterdam
Tilahun Regassa (ETH)               2:05:27 (12)2:08:118th Dubai, 6th London
Tadesse Abraham (SUI)             2:06:40 (16)2:06:404th Seoul, 7th Olympics
Ghirmay Ghebreslassie (ERI) 2:07:46 (16)2:07:464th London and Olympics, Won New York
Amanuel Mesel (ERI)                 2:08:17 (13)2:10:485th Fukuoka
Asefa Mengstu (ETH)                 2:08:41 (16)2:08:41Won two marathons

Looking at the 14 men entered in 2017 Boston with sub-2:09 PBs, only three of them set their PBs in 2016 (zero of the top four seeds).

2017 Boston Men’s FieldPR / Yr Set2016 SB2016 Accolades
Dennis Kimetto (KEN)2:02:57 (14)2:11:449th London
Emmanuel Mutai (KEN)2:03:13 (14)2:10:237th Tokyo, 12th Berlin
Patrick Makau (KEN)2:03:38 (11)2:08:572nd Fukuoka
Sammy Kitwara (KEN)2:04:28 (14)2:05:456th Boston, 2nd Amsterdam, 1st Taipei
Lemi Berhanu (ETH)2:04:33 (16)2:04:332nd Dubai, 1st Boston, 1st Xiamen (2017)
Yemane Tsegay (ETH)2:04:48 (12)2:08:483rd Boston, 1st Fukuoka
Dino Sefir (ETH)2:04:50 (12)2:08:141st Barcelona and Ottawa
Sisay Lemma (ETH)2:05:16 (16)2:05:164th Dubai and Berlin, 7th London
Wilson Chebet (KEN)2:05:27 (11)2:08:1912th Amsterdam, 2nd Honolulu
Wesley Korir (KEN)2:06:13 (12)2:14:054th Boston
Geoffrey Kirui (KEN)2:06:27 (16)2:06:273rd Rotterdam, 7th Amsterdam
Yared Asmerom (ERI)2:07:27 (11)2:11:579th Fukuoka
Meb Keflezighi (USA)2:08:37 (14)2:12:212nd US Trials
Abdi Abdirahman (USA)2:08:56 (06)2:11:233rd NYC

If you ranked the 2017 Boston and London elite entrants based on 2016 seasonal best time, here is how it looks for the top 15 seeds. London has the top three and nine of the top 13.

1. Kenenisa Bekele (ETH) (London)      2:03:03
2. Stanley Biwott (KEN) (London)             2:03:51
3. Tesfaye Abera (ETH) (London)              2:04:24
4. Lemi Berhanu (ETH) (Boston)2:04:33
5. Sisay Lemma (ETH) (Boston)2:05:16
6. Daniel Wanjiru (KEN)  (London)          2:05:21
7. Sammy Kitwara (KEN) (Boston)2:05:45
8. Geoffrey Kirui (KEN) (Boston)2:06:27
9. Tadesse Abraham (SUI)  (London)  2:06:40
10. Feyisa Lilesa (ETH) (London)2:06:56
11. Gh. Ghebreslassie (ERI) (London)  2:07:46
12. Abel Kirui (KEN)         (London)           2:08:06
13. Tilahun Regassa (ETH)      (London)  2:08:11
14. Dino Sefir (ETH) (Boston)2:08:14
15. Wilson Chebet (KEN) (Boston)2:08:19

In the end, London has four of the 10 fastest men in the world from 2016 and five men ranked in our top 10 for 2016. Boston has two of the 10 fastest men for 2016 and two men ranked in our top 10 (LRC Top 10).

3) Is Galen Rupp The Favorite?

We’d say no.

Defending champion Lemi Berhanu Hayle deserves to be considered the favorite. In addition to being the defending champ, he’s won six of nine career marathons (including 2015 Dubai) and has a 2:04:33 pb (when he finished 2nd in Dubai last year).

The good news for Rupp fans is that in the last 20 years, only one man has repeated as Boston Marathon champ (Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot won three straight from 2006 to 2008). Additionally, Rupp beat Hayle in Rio (3rd vs 13th) and Rupp will be a lot fresher. In 2015 and 2016, Hayle has run three marathons each year. This year, he’s sticking to that plan. While he’s skipped going to Dubai (where he won in 2015 and was 2nd in 2016), he’s already run and won a marathon in 2017. On January 2, he won Xiamen in 2:08:27.

Rupp’s certainly got a great shot at victory as we ranked him higher than Hayle in our 2016 marathon rankings. Of course, it came out today that Rupp is currently battling plantar fasciitis, which caused him to withdraw from Sunday’s Houston Half Marathon. If that issue persists, his chances obviously go down.

Talk about the 2017 Boston Marathon men’s and women’s field in our world famous fan forum / messageboard: MB: Rest of 2017 Boston Marathon field released: Kimetto, Emmanuel Mutai, Patrick Makau & more.