(Reuters) – World record-holder Eliud Kipchoge headlines a star-studded Boston Marathon field on Monday as the world’s oldest 26.2-mile race takes on a somber tone 10 years after a bombing attack near the finish line.
Survivors, first responders and other members of the public gathered on Saturday in Boston in honor of the victims of the marathon bombing, one of the most high-profile attacks on U.S. soil that claimed three lives and saw scores more injured.
A shattered community came together in the wake of the attack, adopting the slogan “Boston Strong” in a show of unity and resilience.
“This year, I am thinking about the importance of continuing on in the face of pain and setbacks,” Boston’s Coordinated Response Team Director Tania Del Rio said in a statement.
“As we mark ten years since the 2013 Marathon, we run to keep our departed loved ones in our minds and hearts.”
Twice Olympic champion Kipchoge, a man who needs no introduction after he unofficially became the first to run a marathon in under two hours in 2019, is aiming to add a Boston title to his 10 World Marathon Major victories.
He will face a tough challenge in his Boston debut from his fellow Kenyans, defending champion Evans Chebet and 2021 winner Benson Kipruto, as well as Ethiopian Lelisa Desisa, the 2019 world champion who won Boston in 2015 and 2013.
Ethiopian Amane Beriso, who produced the all-time third-fastest marathon in Valencia late last year, headlines a speedy women’s field with twice major winner Joyciline Jepkosgei of Kenya and Ethiopia’s world champion Gotytom Gebreslase.
Kenyan Edna Kiplagat will vie for her third Boston title with her fellow former champions American Des Linden and Ethiopian Atsede Baysa also expected to run.
The 127th running of the Boston Marathon begins with the men’s wheelchair division at 9:02 a.m. ET (1302 GMT) on Monday, April 17.
(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York, additional reporting by Gerardo Gomez)