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Boston Marathon: Which elite runners will take Boston in 2017?

The 2017 Boston Marathon takes place this coming Monday
Meb Keflezighi
Men's Boston Marathon race winner, Meb Keflezighi, throws out the first pitch prior to the game between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on April 23, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. Getty Images

Perhaps no single day in Boston is bigger and more important than Patriots' Day, or better known around these parts as Marathon Monday.

While the historical aspect of the day in our nation's history can't be forgotten - the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord - the celebration is made by those making the 26.2-mile run from Hopkinton all the way to Boston's Boylston Street.

Consider it a 26.2-mile celebration of hard work, determination, perseverance, and unity that not only describes the individuals in the race, but the city they are racing in, especially after the marathon bombings that occurred at the finish line in 2013.

Whether it's overcoming physical or emotional hurdles, running for a charity, or just simply reaching that "runner's high", there are plenty of reasons for the 30,000-plus men and women to partake in the 121st Boston Marathon.

And there are plenty of reasons to cheer them on from the sidelines, whether at the start, along the infamous Heartbreak Hill, or down the stretch on Boylston Street.

And this year, fans will be treated to a more competitive marathon. Last year, many of the top runners in the world didn't run in the Boston Marathon due to the Rio Summer Olympics later in the year. That isn't the case this time around, as many return to Boston in hopes of winning one of the most important marathons in the world, and $150,000.

Americans
Men - You know the name Meb Keflezighi. The American won the Boston Marathon back in 2014, becoming the first American since 1983 to do so. You can bet the 41-year-old will be a huge draw after his announcement that this will be his final competitive year of racing. Galen Rupp, on the other hand, is just starting out. The 30-year-old is making his Boston Marathon debut, coming off a bronze medeal at the Rio Olympics in the marathon (2:10:05). He looks to be America's best bet to bring home a win. Will a nagging foot injury prevent it? And keep an eye on Jared Ward, who finished 6th in the Rio Olympics (2:11:30).

Women - Local favorite Shalane Flanagan had to withdraw from this year's race due to a back injury. That's a blow to the American women's chances, but there are still a couple names to be on the lookout for. Jordan Hasay, just 25 years old, is making her Boston Marathon debut, and looking to make some noise, too. She just recently placed 6th in the Prague Half Marathon with a 67:55 time, third fastest ever by an American woman, according to the running website competitor.com. And Desi Linden should be a familiar name, as Linden finished 2nd in the 2011 Boston Marathon and 7th in the Rio Olympics (2:26:08).

World
Men - Lemi Berhanu from Ethiopia is your defending champion after finishing last year's race with a 2:12:45 time. But that time was actually the slowest winning time since 2007. When you consider many of the top racers skipped last year's race, Berhanu will have to run faster this time around. Look for countryman Yemane Tsegaye, who finished third last year, near him. And you can always count on the Kenyans to compete. Wesley Korir, who won in 2012, will look to end Kenya's 1st-place drought.

Women - Atsede Baysa from Ethiopa looks to defend her crown after an impressive come-from-behind win last year. Fellow Ethiopian Buzunesh Deba, who was awarded the 1st-place honor in 2014 after Rita Jeptoo was banned for doping, holds the course record at 2:19:59. And again, there are many Kenyans with a chance to win, including 2015 winner Caroline Rotich.

 
 

 
 
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