|The 2006 Boston Marathon - Overview
by John Elliott/Sharon Ekstrom
It was the perfect day for running the Boston Marathon and as the day began we commented that the temperature: 53 degrees with a light tailwind was reminiscent of the day, in 1994, when Cosmas Ndeti set the men's course record. And in the end, it was a record day and a day for personal records - at least for those runners who didn't beat themselves up on what became a brutal and competitive race.
There were 20,117 official starters for the race and 19,688 finished - MarathonGuide.com is working on a story that encompasses that aspect of the race, but here we're reporting on the race within the race, the competition in the front.
We hate to give away the ending to a story, so if you want to read the exciting story from each race without knowing the outcomes, then skip the next sentences and click a link below. Come one, click a link - the stories are really exciting... Okay, if you need to know what happened, here it is: Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot runs one of the most tactical races ever, sets a PR and breaks the Boston Marathon course record with just one second to spare. In the women's race, Rita Jeptoo - an unknown in this country - surprises Jelena Prokopcuka and wins the women's marathon in the closest women's race in Boston history. Okay, now choose a link below and read exactly what happened...
In the men's race, the story was three-fold: i) a strong pack running much of the course significantly faster than the course-record setting pace of 1994 - would the course record fall? ii) the return of the Kenyan dominant presence at the Boston Marathon and iii) the amazing performance of Americans in this race: three Americans in the top 5 and five in the top ten. All in all, this was the most interesting and strategic Boston Marathon in years. This race is always interesting, but the 2006 - the 110th running - was something special.
Read the Men's Race - Blow by Blow
We thought the story in the women's race was going to be about who didn't show up: Catherine Ndereba was not at Boston to defend her title, Elfenesh Alemu and Derartu Tulu withdrew from the competition in the weeks leading up to raceday. But hey, we were wrong - the story was about a new generation of women at Boston creating something special and memorable - and the closest women's marathon in Boston history. The women who came to Boston included some women who had never run Boston and never run in the USA - and it was these women, supplementing the returning veterans that created one of the most interesting and fun women's marathon in years. This was, in our opinion, the most exciting Boston Women's race in history.
Read the Women's Race - Blow by Blow
In the wheelchair races, Ernst Van Dyk of South Africa won for the sixth time in a row - in the middle of the a series of major marathons: Paris, Boston, London and Seoul. Anyone who knows this sport knew that Van Dyk would win, but his continued success and promotion of wheelchair athletics is inspiring.
We were sad to see that beyond some expected leaders, the women's wheelchair division was small. Strong women competed as usual, but we need to question the viability of this sport if only four women will show up to Boston. We want to make a call to all wheelers - get out there, please!