2013 Boston Marathon Women’s Race: The Seven Year Itch Is Met: Rita Jeptoo Closes Hard To Win Her Second Title

Hometown Favorite Shalane Flanagan Finishes Fourth in Her Boston Debut

by LetsRun.com
April 22, 2013

Editor’s note: Due to the terrorist attacks on Boston, we didn’t feel it was right to highlight the professionals performances last week. We decided to cover the race and give them the credit they deserve a week later.

The resurgence of Rita Jeptoo continued last Monday (April 14) in Boston as Jeptoo picked up her second Boston victory seven years after her first thanks to a blistering fast close as she pulled clear of 22-year old Meseret Hailu of Ethiopia just after the 40km mark to win in 2:26:25 to Hailu’s 2:26:58.

Local favorite Shalane Flanagan stayed with the main pack (there was a front-runner which the pack overtook late) for almost 23 miles before losing contact and finishing fourth in her Boston debut in 2:27:08. Her training partner Kara Goucher was sixth in 2:28:11.

The race

It’s been said that a marathon is really a 10k race after a 20 mile warm-up. That certainly was the case and then some at the 2013 Boston marathon which in many ways was a 35km warm-up followed by a 7.19498 km race.

Rita Jeptoo happy to be on top in Boston again Rita Jeptoo happy to be on top in Boston again

The pace early on was very modest. The first 5km was run in a totally pedestrian 18:39. For Jeptoo and the main pack, from which the top 8 finishers would come, the pace slightly from there all way to the 35km mark as all of the 5kms segments were run between 17:12 and 17:51. Halfway for them was reached in 74:33 (2:29 low pace) and as late as 35k, Jeptoo was only on 2:27:50 pace (5:38.3 mile pace).

Jeptoo closed really fast. After running 21.78 miles at a 5:38.3 per mile average, Jeptoo then ripped a 15:50 5k from 35k to 40k (5:05.8 pace) which gave her a one second lead over Hailu at 40k. Jeptoo finished Hailu off by closing even faster still over the final 2.2 km as she average 5:01.3 pace for the final 1.35 miles.

A few people try to steal it

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Besides the battle over the final miles, the women’s race was full of drama as with the pedestrian opening pace, two different runners tried to steal the race.

At halfway, Colombia’s Yolanda Caballero, who ran ahead of the main pack from the start had a 31 second lead at 74:02 (Editor’s note: We highly recommend the following profile on the 31-year old Caballero who is trying to move on after the sudden death of her husband/coach). Shortly after the 25km mark and just before 16 miles, she would be overtaken by Portugal’s 30-year old Anna Dulce Felix.

Once in the lead, Dulce Felix, the 2012 European 10,000 champion, extended it and tried to steal the race. She ran miles 17-20 in the Newton hills in 5:31, 5:37, 5:29 and 5:41 and Dulce Felix who was roughly 45 seconds ahead of the largely unconcerned main pack when she got the lead saw her lead grow to 1:15 by the 30km mark (18.4 miles).

Even after a 5:58 21st mile which included Heartbreak hill, Dulce Felix still led by 1:06 at the 35km mark (21.748 miles). Despite being on such a modest pace (2:27:50 pace at 35km) the chasers often could not be seen behind Dulce Felix and it was almost as it Dulce Felix could not believe her lead. Several times she practically did a full 180 degree turn to look for the chasers.

Could Dulce Felix actually steal this race?

Despite what was said on the television broadcast, the notion of Dulce Felix stealing the race was a real one as she has some legitimate credentials.

In addition to her European 10,000 gold last year, Dulce Felix had finished 8th in the 10,000 at Worlds in 2011 and was fourth at the 2010 New York City marathon in 2:25:40 – a time just two seconds off the pb of Flanagan. Clearly Flanagan was a threat to win in Boston, so we have no idea why some thought that the idea of Dulce Felix stealing the race was totally inconceivable when she had a cushion of over a minute.

However, in hindsight, just after when many were starting to think, “Wow she might actually pull this off,” it suddenly became apparent she would be engulfed by the lead pack as Dulce Felix soon started to fade and Jeptoo had started to push just before 35km.

Even if Dulce Felix, who was on 2:27:50 pace at 35k but would end up a brave ninth in 2:30:05, hadn’t faded, the fast-closing charging chasers would have reeled her in as Jeptoo’s winning time was 2:26:25.

Dulce Felix was caught at the 2:13:13 mark and would end up staggering home at 6:43.3 mile pace after 40k.

Quick takes and elite women’s results below.

Quick take #1: At age 32, after giving birth, Jeptoo’s better than ever

In 2006, Jeptoo won Boston in a then PR of 2:23:38 at age 25. But in the next two years, she’d never finish higher than 3rd at a major or run faster than 2:26:34.

Out of competition in 2009 and 2010 for maternity leave, Jeptoo has come back and slowly become better than ever. In 2011, she ran 2:25:44 in Frankfurt. Last fall she ran  2:22:04 in finishing second in Chicago to better her 2:23:38 pb from Boston in 2006.

Earlier this year in Dubai, she broke her 67:08 half marathon pb which dated from 2005 and now she is once again on top in Boston.  (For a full post-race article on Flanagan’s and Kara Goucher’s post-race reaction click here)

Quick Take #2: Shalane Flanagan closed fast, just not fast enough.

Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan console eachother after the 2013 Boston Marathon Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan console eachother after the 2013 Boston Marathon

After the race, Flanagan struggled to hold back tears. She said running her hometown marathon was incredibly special but her dream of course was to win the race, not finish fourth.

Her finish was by far her fastest running of the day but it wasn’t enough. (For a full post-race article on Flanagan’s and Kara Goucher’s post-race reaction click here)

Flanagan ran 5:09.3 pace from (16:01 for 5k) from 35km to 40km. That was more than a minute faster than any previous 5k stretch of the race (the field ran 17:12 from 10k to 15k) Yet Flanagan fell 12 seconds behind Jeptoo as Jeptoo ran this stretch in 15:50.

With victory out of reach, Flangan ran 5:24.1 pace from 40k to the finish (Jeptoo closed at 5:01.3 pace).

Sometimes you have to just tip your hat to the better competitor and Jeptoo was definitely that on Monday.

Quick Take #3: Fashion Advice

We’ve got a lot more on the American women including Joan Benoit Samuelson here. However one quick comment on Shalane’s jersey. The idea of a website founded by men commenting on women’s fashion may not be a smart one, but here we go.

We found this photo on twitter.

The “U – S – A” shoe companies are plastering on jerseys even at events where there isn’t an official team competition is overdone so we’re glad Nike didn’t do it here. But how about red instead of orange for Flanagan’s jersey? The jersey is a sharp design, but you’d think Flanagan was Dutch from all the Orange. In reality, she is American and running in the most patriotic of marathons – Boston. How about red, and a little white and blue for the hometown favorite?

Finishers From The All Women’s Elite Race –
1. Rita Jeptoo, 32, KEN                    2:26:25  $150,000
[1:14:34 / 1:10:51]
2. Meseret Hailu Debele, 22, ETH           2:26:58    75,000
3. Sharon Cherop, 29, KEN                  2:27:01    40,000
4. Shalane Flanagan, 31, Portland, OR      2:27:08    25,000
5. Tirfi Tsegaye Beyene, 28, ETH           2:28:09    15,000
6. Kara Goucher, 34, Portland, OR          2:28:11    12,000
7. Madai Perez, 33, MEX                    2:28:59     9,000
8. Diane Nukuri-Johnson, 28, BDI           2:29:54 PB  7,400
9. Ana Dulce Félix, 30, POR                2:30:05     5,700
10. Sabrina Mockenhaupt, 32, GER            2:30:09     4,200
11. Diana Sigei, 25, KEN                    2:33:02     2,600
12. Mamitu Daska, 29, ETH                   2:33:31     2,100
13. Alemitu Abera, 27, ETH                  2:33:46     1,800
14. Yolanda Caballero, 31, COL              2:35:10     1,700
15. Stephanie Rothstein Bruce, 29, Flgs, AZ 2:35:31     1,500
16. Yuka Yano, 26, JPN                      2:35:46 PB
17. René Kalmer, 32, RSA                    2:37:15
18. Svetlana Pretot, 41, FRA                2:38:19    10,000m
19. Manami Kamitanida, 23, JPN              2:38:21
20. Sheri Piers, 41, Falmouth, ME           2:39:25     5,000m
21. Hilary Dionne, 27, Charlestown, MA      2:39:34
22. Ariana Hilborn, 32, Lake Orion, MI      2:42:00
23. Nuta Olaru, 42, Longmont, CO            2:42:57     2,500m
24. Lauren Philbrook, 25, Hopkinton, MA     2:43:09
25. Gina Slaby, 31, Virginia Beach, VA      2:43:23
26. Erica Jesseman, 24, Scarborough, ME     2:44:35
27. Alissa McKaig, 27, Blowing Rock, NC     2:45:02
28. Sarah Bard, 28, Somerville, MA          2:45:26
29. Lydia Carrick, 27, Wilmington, DE       2:47:06
30. Kristen Carter, 26, Bellingham, WA      2:47:38
31. Samantha McNally, 26, Lancaster, PA     2:47:47
32. Mary Pardi, 43, Falmouth, ME            2:48:42     1,500m
33. Rachel Stanton, 34, AUS                 2:49:03
34. Lisa Bentley, 44, Clermont, FL (CAN)    2:49:36     1,000m
35. Denise Robson, 44, CAN                  2:50:25
36. Kelly Brinkman, 31, Bloomington, MN     2:50:45
37. Michelle Lowry, 36, USA                 2:51:27
38. Jutta Merilainen, 41, CAN               2:52:30
39. Perry Shoemaker, 41, Vienna, VA         2:58:53
40. Carla McAlister, 40, San Clemente, CA   3:00:08
41. Tina Husted, 40, Upper Arlington, OH    3:01:30
42. Ingrid Louw, 40, Alpharetta, GA         3:02:57
43. Sharon Ryder, 40, AUS                   3:04:51
Serena Burla, Falls Church, VA          DNF
m = Earned masters prize money

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