Historically GREAT 2023 Boston Marathon Women’s Field Announced – 3 Quick Thoughts
By Robert Johnson
January 9, 2023
Today the women’s elite field for the 2023 Boston Marathon was released by race organizers and it is FANTASTIC. Here are my three quick thoughts on the field.
1) The 2023 Boston Marathon women’s field is INCREDIBLY DEEP — the deepest in marathon history
Over five years ago, we at LetsRun.com started compiling in a database the depth of each of the world’s best marathons. We wanted to be able to put the quality of each field in historical perspective and we also wanted to hold the races accountable. If a so-called major stopped bringing in many elites, we wanted to be able to call them out on it with facts.
Well, we won’t be calling out Boston this year — only praising them. Yes, super shoes have changed the meaning of times and 2022 was a record-breaking year for the women’s marathon — 12 of history’s 25 sub-2:18 performances were run in 2022. But the 2023 Boston field is TOTALLY FULL of super-fast women.
Assuming there are no withdrawals between now and race day on April 17, the 2023 Boston Marathon will set a record for most sub-2:18 women on a start line with five. But the field isn’t just strong at the top — there are a total of 9 sub-2:20 women, 16 sub-2:21, and 22 sub-2:25. No race in history has had depth like that as shown by the chart below.
A Record-Setting Boston Marathon By The Numbers
Previous Most In History
|Sub-2:18 PB||5||4 (’21 Olympics)|
|Sub-2:19 PB||7||7 (’22 London)|
|Sub-2:20 PB||9||9 (’21 London)|
|Sub-2:21 PB||16||10 (’21 London)|
|Sub-2:22 PB||16||11 (’21 London)|
|Sub-2:23 PB||20||13 (’20 Valencia)|
|Sub-2:24 PB||22||15 (’20 Valencia)|
18 (’21 Olympics)
In terms of big names, the field includes 2022 Valencia champion Amane Beriso (2:14:58 pb, #3 all-time), 2022 NYC champion Sharon Lokedi, 2022 world champion Gotytom Gebreslase, two-time Boston champ Edna Kiplagat, and many more including American World Championship team members Sara Hall and Emma Bates. Here is some info about all 22 women entered in the field who have broken 2:24.
|Amane Beriso||Ethiopia||2:14:58 (NR)||
31-year-old stunningly lowered her pb from 2:20:48 to 2:14:58 in Valencia in December
32-year-old 64:36 half marathoner debuted at 2:17:29 in Valencia
Former NY and London champ was 7th in Boston, 2nd in NY last year
2nd in Nagoya, 3rd at Worlds, 2nd in NY last year
2021 Amsterdam champ was 4th in Tokyo, 6th at Worlds, and 2nd in Abu Dhabi last year
27-year-old improved from 2:24 to 2:18 in Valencia last year (5th place)
3rd in Tokyo and NYC last year with a world title wedged in between
2021 Berlin runner-up was 5th in Tokyo last year
43-year-old was 4th in Boston and NYC last year
27-year-old was 4th in Seoul and 7th in Amsterdam last year
Last year, 24-year-old won Enschede but was only 16th in Berlin in September
34-year-old was 3rd in Boston, 7th in London last year
|Nazret Weldu Gebrehiwet||Eritrea||2:20:29 (NR)||
33-year-old ran pb to get 4th at Worlds last year
8th in Tokyo, 5th in Worlds last year. Will turn 40 two days after 2023 Boston
2nd in Chicago in 2019, 3rd in NY in ’21, 2nd in Boston in 2022
Set pb winning Vienna last year, 10th in Berlin
2010 Paris and Chicago champ, 2016 Boston champ hasn’t broken 2:25 since 2012
2018 Boston champ was 13th last year. Turns 40 in July
Bernard Lagat’s sis was 6th in Boston and 5th in NYC last year
|Nienke Brinkman||Netherlands||2:22:51 (NR)||
2nd in Rotterdam (pb) and 3rd at Euros last year
7th at Worlds, 8th in NY in 2022
Shocked world with NYC win in debut last year
2) While at first glance it may seem like everyone is running Boston, the defending champ plus three top Americans are not in the field
With a field so deep, it may seem like everyone is running Boston. Not so.
There are plenty of women left for London (April 23), Tokyo (March 5), and maybe even Nagoya (March 12).
Normally, a race’s defending champion comes back but that’s not the case here. 2022 Boston champ Peres Jepchirchir, who in her last three marathons has won the Olympics, New York, and Boston isn’t returning to defend her crown. The 2023 Boston field has two of the 10 women who broke 2:18 in 2022, which means eight of them will run elsewhere. That group includes world record holder Brigid Kosgei who won Tokyo last year, 2:14:18 runner Ruth Chepngetich who won Chicago and probably should have broken the world record had she paced herself better, and 2022 London champ Yalemzerf Yehualaw.
Three of the biggest names right now in US women’s marathoning aren’t in the field either. US record holder Emily Sisson doesn’t like hills and may never run Boston. Former US record holder Keira D’Amato isn’t racing Boston either, nor is Olympic bronze medalist Molly Seidel.
3) The fact that the defending champ plus the American trio of Seidel, Sisson and D’Amato aren’t racing may have resulted in the Boston field being so great
Races only have so much money to pay out in appearance fees and a huge amount of that — maybe something like $200k — often goes to the defending champ. Below that, a disproportionate percentage of appearance fees (as compared to results) goes out to American runners. So with the defending champion and three top Americans not in the field, Boston had a ton of money to spend on depth and they did a very good job of spending it.
Here is the full elite women’s field.
BOSTON MARATHON PROFESSIONAL FIELD – WOMEN’S OPEN DIVISION
|Amane Beriso||Ethiopia||2:14:58 (NR)|
|Nazret Weldu Gebrehiwet||Eritrea||2:20:29 (NR)|
|Militsa Mircheva||Bulgaria||2:29:23 (NR)|
|English Jackson Tomlinson||USA||2:36:51|
^ signifies Boston Marathon Champion
*signifies Masters (40+) athlete
Talk about 2023 Boston on our world-famous fan forum / messageboard. MB: INCREDIBLE 2023 Boston Marathon Field Announced – 5 sub-2:18, 16 sub-2:21 women will battle it out for glory
Robert Johnson is the co-founder of LetsRun.com. He once helped rabbit Catherine Ndereba to the world record in the women’s marathon and was part of the greatest dynasty* in any NCAA men’s sport in Ivy League history when he was the coach of the men’s distance program at Cornell University for 10 years. He now resides in Baltimore with his wife and son.
*Greatest dynasty is defined as most consecutive outright Ivy League titles won in a row in a single sport supported by all 8 Ivy League schools.