|The 2005 Boston Marathon - Overview
by John Elliott
It was a warm day for the running of the 109th Boston Marathon - 70 degrees at the start and basically throughout the race. A light headwind worked to cool the runners, so many claimed they did not notice the heat as much as they might have otherwise. The third place finisher, Benson Cherono, even called the day cold. The wind also served to slow the runners and wheelers so this would not be a record-setting year on this point to point course.
There were 20,453 official starters for the race - but we can't report on all of them, although each is a story in itself. Here, we'll focus on those in the front, those whose stories are most obvious.
In the men's race, the Kenyan dominance of the past years was challenged and beaten by a young Ethiopian, Hailu Negussie. Running in a pack consisting of seven Kenyans, one Morrocan, one American and himself, Negussie would later comment that he was very worried about the Kenyans' tendency to work as a team in these races and as an outsider, he knew he would be at a disadvantage. By mile 19, Negussie would break free of all but one competitor and by mile 23 he would be running alone - winning what would be the most important race (to this point) of his life. The finish was not as expected and newcomers were the theme of the day, as the usual old guard was overcome by the young and new...
Also see: Men's Race - Blow by Blow
There are some great female marathoners and then there are just a couple that stand above the rest: Paula Radcliffe, of course, and Catherine Ndereba. The story on the day before Boston was about Paula Radcliffe - another win (by five minutes!) and another world record (fastest performance in a women's only marathon). The story on Marathon Monday was all about Catherine Ndereba - her fourth Boston Marathon win, a record for most Boston wins by a woman. The year before saw a classic duel between Ndereba and Elfenesh Alemu as Alemu heroically ran against Ndereba losing by only 16 seconds in the closest Boston Marathon finish of all time. The 2005 race achieved the same one-two finish, but saw Alemu bravely set her own pace to build a 1-1/2 minute lead by the halfway mark, hoping to be far enough in the front that she could not be caught. But, Ndereba and her God (she is a very religious woman and answers every question with praise to God) could not be beat on this Marathon Monday.
In the wheelchair races, Ernst Van Dyk of South Africa won for the fifth time in a row, and in a post-race interview said that he was young and would just like to see how many times he could continue to win this race.
In the women's wheelchair race, no one seemed to know why one of the favorites, Christina Ripp (the 2003 champion who dropped out of the 2004 race with a flat tire), did not start the race - but with Ripp out of the competition, it was (relatively) easy for Cheri Blauwet to retain the title she earned in 2004.