|The 2004 Boston Marathon - Overview
by John Elliott
It was a hot, blustery day in Eastern Massachusetts for the 108th running of the Boston Marathon - one of the warmest in the history of this race. Temperatures began the day at 83 degreees and remained at that level throughout the day. In addition to the heat, a strong tailwind worked some magic on the wheelchair competitors but discomforted some of the runners.
In the men's race, the Kenyan's continued their dominance of this event. The Kenyans held the first four positions, with a changing of the guard as the favorites failed to make the top positions. The main story was the success this year of Timothy Cherigat in his third attempt in Boston. After leading a charge up the Newton Hills, but ending up in 4th place in the 2003 race - the world was not sure what would happen when Cherigat decided to blast away from the pack again at the same point on this hot day. But the gambit paid off and Cherigat was able to gain ten seconds up the initial hills and expand that to a more than comfortable lead of more than a minute. Cherigat ran his best Boston Marathon time, finishing in 2:10:37. Second place went to a longshot as Robert Cheboror, at one point looking like he was falling back from the pack, easily took the second position in 2:11:49. Martin Lel repeated his third place finish of 2003 completing the race in 2:13:38. The two favorites and two past champions of the Boston Marathon: Rodgers Rop and Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot both dropped out at the 25 mile mark, apparently victims of the heat.
Also see: Men's Race - Blow by Blow
On the women's side, Catherine "The Great" Ndereba proved again why she has earned that nickname, by winning the Boston Marathon for the third time, this time in a time of 2:24:27. Elfenesh Alemu deserves much of the credit for the race, as she set the pace and remained the leader through 19 miles, and then continued step for step with Ndereba until the final mile of the race. Her efforts brought here to the finish 16 seconds behind Ndereba to tie the closest marathon finish in Boston Marathon history. Olivera Jevtic, after staying with the leaders for much of the race easily earned her third place standing, finishin in 2:27:34.
In the wheelchair races, Ernst Van Dyk of South Africa won for the fourth time in a row, in a course record time of 1:18:27. On a fast day, aided by a significant tailwind, Joel Jeannot finished second in 1:21:08, also ahead of the previous course record. Franz Nietlspach was third in 1:23:07.
Christina Ripp was forced to drop out early in the race due to a flat tire, so that left the door open for her friend, Cheri Blauwet to win the women's wheelchair division in 1:39:53. Edith Hunkeler was second in 1:41:13 and Sandra Graf was third in 1:42:13.