Carolyn Mather covered the 127th Boston Marathon for RunBlogRun in 2023. Carolyn has written for RunBlogRun before. Many will remember her writing, for decades for Running Journal, the iconic Southern Running magazine published by Bruce Morrison. In this feature, Carolyn gives us the story on the Elite Women’s race! 

Hellen Obiri wins the 127th Boston Marathon; the Last Women to Enter the Elite Field Finishes First! by Carolyn Mather 

On a drizzly, foggy morning with temperatures in the low 50s, the professional women started ten minutes after the professional men. The 127th Boston Marathon has 30,239 official entrants from all fifty states and 120 countries. There are 57 women in the professional field. 1973 Boston Marathon Champion Jacqueline Hansen celebrates the 50th anniversary of her win as the official starter of the women’s race.

Eight women in the professional field have run under 2:20. It is the fastest field in race history with another seven under 2:21. Sara Hall, who turned 40 this past Saturday, is the fastest American with a 2:20:32.

The women running in a large pack hit mile 1 in a pedestrian at 6:09, with Maegan Krifchin leading the group at 11:46 at two miles. With a personal best of 2:29:12, Maegan is enjoying her moment in the lead. The 52 degrees and 86% humidity is contributing to a cautious first few miles. Mile 3 was at 17:14, so the pace is quickening. Mile 4 is 22:38.

Americans Nell Rojas, Dakotah Lindwurm, Des Linden, Annie Frisbee, Aliphine Tuliamuk, Sara Hall, Maegan Krifchin, Laura Thweat, and Emma Bates are in the lead pack of 25 at mile 5 in 28:13. The pace is getting faster with 33:49 at 6. A 5:08 mile by Amane Beriso, who has a 2:14:58 personal best. She has broken the pack from 25 to 8. Beriso is pushing the pace. From a 2:29 predicted finish, it is now 2:22 and going lower.

Mile 9 is passed in 49:05, and there is a bit of pushing at the 15k special fluid station. The projected finish is now 2:21:32. Lohan Salpeter has caught the lead pack, with Emma Bates trying to catch the lead pack of ten. Emma Bates is solidly in the lead pack now.

Hellen Obiri, Lonah Salpeter, Amane Beriso, Ababel Yeshaneh, Emma Bates, photo by Star Gazer Pix

The leading ladies hit halfway in 1:11:29 as the rain gets harder. There is a lot of water on the course. Chepchirchir fell at 14 but quickly gets up and back to the pack. Lonah Salpeter had taken firm control of the pack, but Bates is now leading, but Salpeter took it back on the first hill. Bates retakes the lead after the special fluid station at 35k.and the pack of 9 still has Bates leading at mile 20 in 1:49:12. Mile 21 is at 1:54:49.

The women’s race is going to be close, with nine women who are all capable of taking the win. Mile 22 is hit in 5:08 with seven women remaining. The pack is down to six at mile 23.

Yeshaneh of Ethiopia took a fall past mile 24 but recovered quickly. Bates was dropped near mile 25. There are four as they turn on Hereford with Bates back a few meters. Obiri takes the lead with a mile to go and is pumping her arms going up the last hill. Obiri is increasing her lead and takes the tape 2:21:38 unofficially.

The last woman to enter the field finishes first.

2023 Boston Marathon, Women’s top 10: 1. Hellen Obiri, Kenya (On Running), 2:21.38, 2. Amane Beriso, ETH, 2:21.50, 3. Lonah Salpeter, Isreal, 2:21.57, 4. Ababel Yeshaneh, ETH, 2:22.00, 5. Emma Bates, USA (ASICS), 2:22:10, 6. Nazret Weldu, ERI, 2:23.25, 7. Angela Tanui, KEN, 2:24.12, 8. Hiyot Gebremaryam, ETH, 2:24.30, 9. Mary Ngugi, KEN 2:24.33, 10. Goytom Gebreslase, ETH, 2:24.34.

Top Ten USA women: 1. Emma Bates, USA, 2:22.10, 2. Aliphine Tuliamuk, USA, 2:24.37, 3. Nell Rojas, USA, 2:24.51, 4. Sara Hall, 2:25.48, 5. Des Linden, USA, 2:27.18, 6. Annie Frisbie, USA, 2:28.45, 7. Sydney Devore, USA, 2:31.08, 8. Maggie Montoya, USA, 2;31.19, 9. Anne-Marie Blaney, USA, 2:31.32, 10. Maegen Krifchin, USA, 2:32.46.

Editor’s note: Carolyn Mather is a long-time runner and observer of the sport. She wrote for Running Journal, the iconic Southern running magazine published by Bruce Morrison, and has written for RunBlogRun for many years. We are glad to see her writing once again.