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The 115th Running of the Boston Marathon - The Women's Race
by John Elliott and Sharon Ekstrom
The Boston Marathon had given up on being the fastest of all marathons, it has been a strategic race. The outcome of that is that for the prior few years, the women's race at Boston has been relatively slow since 2007 - including a 2:29:18 winning time in 2007 and a 2:32:16 finishing time in 2009 where it seemed that the women jogged the first half before realizing there was a race going on.
Kara Goucher was a victim of the slow race in 2009 - where she was prepared for a fast race, but ran slowly with the pack and ultimately was outkicked in a three-way in the last 800 yards to finish third. With that memory, she was certain to push for a faster race in her next visit to Boston in 2011.
Photo Credit: Patrick Cowden
But Kim Smith took the lead, and from the absolute beginning of the race, Smith moved away from the pack - running ahead of course record pace. The rest of the runners were ready to run fast, but not to join Smith on a course-record quest. By halfway there were two races developing: Smith's run against the clock and the rest of the pack, thirteen runners, racing a respectable marathon fifty seconds behind at the half.
Ultimately, Smith could not hold the pace and the day got the better of her. But the day was set - with more aggressive runners and a tailwind - for a good race. By mile 17, a group of four runners: two Kenyans and two Ethiopians had separated from the rest of the pack - they seemed to be the ones who would settle in for the win.
As Kara Goucher had dropped back, another American would pass her and make her way to the lead. Desiree Davila had been as much as twenty seconds behind the main pack, but by working methodically, set a plan for her race in motion. And before 20 miles had elapsed, Davila was in the front of the race, pulling three and then two Kenyans behind her.
Photo Credit: PhotoRun
Desiree Davila continued to push, knowing that she would have to drop the Kenyans before the final sprint - just to be safe. Sharon Cherop fell of the pace and it was down to Davila leading only Caroline Kilel. Kilel switched to an extra gear and move away along the final straightaway - but out of nowhere Davila poured on a sprint and caught and started to pass Kilel. Ultimately that last surge was all Davila had and she would have to settle for second place.
The finish would say that Caroline Kilel was the winner in a respectable 2:22:36. Desiree Davila would be second in 2:22:38, the fastest time ever run by an American on the Boston Marathon course and one of the fastest times by an American ever. Sharon Cherop would be third in 2:22:42.
Photo Credit: PhotoRun
1. Caroline Kilel (KEN) 2:22:36 - $150,000
2. Desiree Davila (USA) 2:22:38 - $75,000
3. Sharon Cherop (KEN) 2:22:42 - $40,000
4. Caroline Rotich (KEN) 2:24:26 - $25,000
5. Kara Goucher (USA) 2:24:52 - $15,000
6. Dire Tune (ETH) 2:25:08 - $12,000
7. Werknesh Kidane (ETH) 2:26:15 - $9,000
8. Yolanda Caballero (COL) 2:26:17 - $7,400
9. Alice Timbilili (KEN) 2:26:34 - $5,700
10. Yuliya Ruban (UKR) 2:27:00 - $4,200
11. Tirfi Tsegaye (ETH) 2:27:29 - $2,600
12. Woynishet Girma (ETH) 2:28:48 - $2,100
13. Hellen Mugo (KEN) 2:29:06 - $1,800
14. Silvia Skvortsova (RUS) 2:29:14 - $1,700
15. Tatyana Pushkareva (RUS) 2:29:20 - $1,500