Kenenisa Bekele vs Geoffrey Kamworor at 2022 Boston Marathon as Men’s Elite Field Announced – 5 Thoughts On The Stellar Field

January 13, 2022

The 2022 Boston Marathon men’s professional field was just released and marathon fans got a heavyweight title fight — Kenenisa Bekele, arguably the greatest distance runner to ever live, vs Geoffrey Kamworor, the five-time world half marathon and cross country champion and two-time World Marathon Major winner.

Throw in the fastest marathoners in the world from 2021 (Titus Ekiru 2:02:57) and 2020 (Evans Chebet 2:03:00), defending Boston champ Benson Kipruto, New York champ Albert Korir, and Lawrence Cherono, and Boston in 2022 is very strong, featuring four of the top 10 in the 2021 World Rankings, plus Bekele.

On the American front, 2020 Olympic marathoner Jake Riley headlines, alongside 2022 USA World Championship team member Elkanah Kibet, Scott Fauble, and Colin Bennie among others. Full fields at the bottom of the story. Five thoughts on the field below.

1. Bekele in Boston is still big news

There’s a much greater chance that Kenenisa Bekele drops out of the 2022 Boston Marathon than wins it, but he is one of the few marathoners in the world that truly moves the needle when it comes to drawing attention to a race. On this week’s Track Talk podcast, co-founders Robert and Weldon Johnson were begging for Boston to get Bekele. Albert Korir may be the reigning World Marathon Majors series champion, but would you recognize him if he walked down the street?

Bekele’s results last fall were middling – he ran a solid 2:06:47 for third on a warm day in Berlin and was sixth in New York in 2:12:52. He’s now 39 years old, and it has been over two years since his last great marathon, his 2:01:41 victory in Berlin in 2019. But the chance to see one of the sport’s greatest legends compete at one of the sport’s iconic venues still gets us excited.

2. Will Kamworor be back to his best?

We recorded a podcast with Boston elite coordinator Mary Kate Shea on Thursday which you can listen to here or in the player below

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 and she told us she had been trying to get Kamworor to run Boston for some time. Kamworor is a star in the sport, and his cross country background and two New York City Marathon titles suggest his talent should translate well to the Boston course. The big question for Kamworor is his health. Last year, a stress fracture in his foot kept him out of the Olympics and an ankle injury meant his buildup for December’s Valencia Marathon was limited to just five weeks with only a few workouts.

It’s a testament to Kamworor’s talent and toughness that he still ran a pb of 2:05 in Valencia, but with the talent assembled in Boston, he’ll need to be healthy and at his best if he is to break the tape on Boylston Street.

3. Some very strong marathoners are not even going to make the podium in April

Bekele and Kamworor are the glamour names, but there’s a ton of marathon talent behind them that could easily keep them off the podium in Boston. Start with Lawrence Cherono, who has been the best marathoner in the world over the last three years outside of Kipchoge with wins in Boston, Chicago, and Valencia. Benson Kipruto and Albert Korir are the defending champs in Boston and New York – not huge names globally yet, but they could be if one wins their second straight major.

And then there are two guys still searching for their first World Marathon Major win. Titus Ekiru was the world leader in 2021, running 2:02:57 (T-#5 all-time) in Milan. He dropped out of London in October, but his marathon record when he finishes is impeccable: seven wins out of eight. Notably, two of those wins came in Honolulu – a hilly course that should prepare him well for Boston.

The other super fast guy yet to win a WMM is Evans Chebet, but it’s a bit misleading to say he’s never won a major as he ran 2:03:00 to win in Valencia in 2020 against a field far stronger than most WMM races. Unlike Ekiru, Chebet hasn’t had any big-time success on tough courses yet (he dropped out of Boston in the horrible weather year of 2018).

4. Where are Eliud Kipchoge and Galen Rupp?

Two names notably absent from the elite announcement were those of Kipchoge and Rupp – the greatest marathoner in the world and the greatest marathoner in America. Kipchoge has never run Boston but has stated that it is his goal to win all six World Marathon Majors and Mary Kate Shea told us he will eventually race Boston. Since he’s not in Boston this year, the logical assumpition he will be running Tokyo (March 6) instead, but this week Kipchoge also announced a “performance partnership” with INEOS, the chemicals company behind his sub-2:00 attempt in 2019 and his agent said they have “a beatiful plan” for 2022 that will come out soon. Could that mean Kipchoge and his team are cooking up another one-off event this spring instead? It’s possible. It’s also possible that Kipchoge runs Worlds given it’s in Eugene – the birthplace of Nike.

As for Rupp, we know he will be running the World Championship marathon in Eugene on July 17. A three-month turnaround between marathons is certainly doable, but Shea told us that Rupp, who was the runner-up in Boston in 2017 and dropped out of the stormy 2018 race, is choosing to focus on Worlds. Personally, we’d like to see Rupp take a crack at the American record this spring in Tokyo or somewhere else before coming back to Worlds in July.

5. A decent American field

Many of the top American marathoners are in this race, from Colin Bennie and Elkanah Kibet (top Americans in Boston and New York last year) to 2:09 man Scott Fauble to Olympians Jared Ward and Jake Riley. But not seeing Rupp’s name on the entry list underscored the vast gap that exists between Rupp and the rest of American men’s marathoning right now. On the women’s side, the US has a number of athletes capable of mixing it up with the best in the world under the right circumstances, with Sara Hall taking second in London in 2020 and Molly Seidel finishing third at the Olympics. Rupp is the only guy in that category among American men, and without him in the field, it feels as if something is missing.

The other way of looking at it: if Rupp was in the field, the battle for top American would be over before it started – Rupp has never lost to another American in a marathon he has finished. With no Rupp to focus the attention on, there’s an opportunity for the other Americans to shine. 

Discuss here:  It’s on! Bekele vs Kamworor in Boston

Full 2022 Boston Marathon Elite Field 
Kenenisa Bekele 2:01:41 (Berlin, 2019) NR Ethiopia
Titus Ekiru 2:02:57 (Milan, 2021) Kenya
Evans Chebet 2:03:00 (Valencia, 2020) Kenya
Lawrence Cherono 2:03:04 (Valencia, 2020) Kenya
Bernard Koech 2:04:09 (Amsterdam, 2021) Kenya
Lemi Berhanu 2:04:33 (Dubai, 2016) Ethiopia
Lelisa Desisa 2:04:45 (Dubai, 2013) Ethiopia
Gabriel Geay 2:04:55 (Milan, 2021) NR Tanzania
Benson Kipruto 2:05:13 (Toronto, 2019) Kenya
Geoffrey Kamworor 2:05:23 (Valencia, 2021) Kenya
Eric Kiptanui 2:05:47 (Apugnano, 2020) Kenya
Bethwell Yegon 2:06:14 (Berlin, 2021) Kenya
Geoffrey Kirui 2:06:27 (Amsterdam, 2016) Kenya
Eyob Faniel 2:07:19 (Seville, 2020) NR Italy
Yuki Kawauchi 2:07:27 (Otsu, 2021) Japan
Albert Korir 2:08:03 (Ottawa, 2019) Kenya
Amanuel Mesel 2:08:17 (Valencia, 2013) Eritrea
Bayelign Teshager 2:08:28 (Los Angeles, 2020) Ethiopia
Tsegay Tuemay Weldibanos 2:09:07 (Daegu, 2019) Eritrea
Scott Fauble 2:09:09 (Boston, 2019) USA
Colin Bennie 2:09:38 (Chandler, 2020) USA
Trevor Hofbauer 2:09:51 (Toronto, 2019) Canada
Jared Ward 2:09:25 (Boston, 2019) USA
Ian Butler 2:09:45 (Chandler, 2020) USA
Mick Iacofano 2:09:55 (Chandler, 2020) USA
Jake Riley 2:10:02 (Atlanta, 2020) USA
Jerrell Mock 2:10:37 (Chicago, 2019) USA
Jemal Yimer 2:10:38 (Boston, 2021) Ethiopia
Juan Luis Barrios 2:10:55 (Tokyo, 2018) Mexico
Matt McDonald 2:11:10 (Chicago, 2019) USA
Matt Llano 2:11:14 (Berlin, 2019) USA
Elkanah Kibet 2:11:15 (New York City, 2021) USA
CJ Albertson 2:11:18 (Chandler, 2020) USA
Diego Estrada 2:11:54 (Chicago, 2019) USA
Jonas Hampton 2:12:10 (Atlanta, 2020) USA
Andrew Colley 2:12:15 (Duluth, 2019) USA
Tyler Pennel 2:12:34 (Atlanta, 2020) USA
Mike Sayenko 2:12:59 (Valencia, 2021) USA
Jason Lynch 2:13:05 (Huntsville, 2021) USA
Josh Izewski 2:13:16 (Sacramento, 2018) USA
Joe Stilin 2:13:19 (Sacramento, 2018) USA
Nico Montanez 2:13:55 (Chicago, 2021) USA
John Tello Zuniga 2:14:19 (Lima, 2021) Colombia
Reed Fischer 2:14:41 (Chicago, 2021) USA
Harvey Nelson 2:14:47 (Boston, 2021) USA
Tyler Pence 2:15:06 (Moline, 2021) USA
Bashash Walio 2:15:07 (Huntsville, 2021) USA
Craig Hunt 2:15:29 (Chandler, 2020) USA
Daniel Ortiz Perez 2:15:39 (Valencia, 2020) Mexico
Paul Hogan 2:15:51 (Boston, 2021) USA
Clayton Young 2:16:07 (Chicago, 2021) USA
Ben Payne^ 2:16:42 (Atlanta, 2020) USA
Markus Ploner^ 2:19:43 (Milan, 2021) Italy
Chip O’Hara^ 2:21:20 (Phoenix, 2020) USA
Gilles Rubio^ 2:21:40 (Valencia, 2019) France
Recio Alvarez^ 2:25:17 (Berlin, 2021) Dominican Republic
Sam Krieg^ 2:25:59 (Chicago, 2019) USA
Thomas Chapman^ 2:26:02 (Sacramento, 2019) USA
Joost De Raeymaeker^ 2:26:10 (Berlin, 2019) Belgium
Athletes with ^ next to their names are Masters (40+) athletes

Discuss here:  It’s on! Bekele vs Kamworor in Boston

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