2014 Boston Marathon preview: Elite American, International runners to watch

Lelisa Desisa
Lelisa Desisa was the first to cross the finish line in the 2013 Boston Marathon. Credit: Getty Images

There have been 117 Boston Marathons dating back to its first run in 1897. But it’s the 118th run that will undoubtedly be bigger and better than ever.

On Monday, more than 35,660 official participants including runners from more than 70 countries outside of the United States will take off from the Hopkinton, Mass. starting line with one main goal in mind: finish what was started. And you can bet that with each step taken, emotions will build. From Hopkinton, through Wellesley, over Newton’s Heartbreak Hill, and eventually – finally! – Boston, they’ll run, and the encouragement and outpouring of support along the route will grow as Boylston Street nears.

This year’s race will be a celebration of the city’s strength, and an honoring of the victims and their families affected by last year’s attacks.

The Americans
The last American male to win the Boston Marathon was Greg Meyer in 1983, while the last American female to win was Lisa Larsen Weidenbach in 1985. How fitting would it be for an American to finally end that drought this year? It’s certainly not going to be easy, as Kenyans and Ethiopians have dominated the event in recent history. American Jason Hartmann has finished fourth the last two years. He and Ryan Hall have the best chances of breaking the Red, White and Blue drought. For the women, Massachusetts’ own Shalane Flanagan finished fourth last year and is looking to make the podium this time. Get there early and cheer them on!

International Stars
Since 1991, a Kenyan has won the men’s division of the Boston Marathon a whopping 19 times. But it was Ethopian Lelisa Desisa who finished first last year with a time of 2:10:22. He’ll be back in what could be the most competitive field yet. Look for Kenya’s Dennis Kimetto and Micah Kogo to give him a run for his money. On the women’s side, defending champ and Kenyan Rita Jeptoo returns. Last year’s second and third place finishers, Ethiopian Meseret Hailu and Kenyan Sharon Cherop, are back as well.


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