Meb Keflezighi wins the 2014 Boston Marathon (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News Boston, USA

Defending champion Keflezighi leads US field for Boston Marathon

Organisers of the Boston Marathon have announced the elite US field for the 119th edition of the IAAF Gold Label Road Race on 20 April.

Defending men’s champion Meb Keflezighi leads the US entries and he is joined by Shalane Flanagan, Dathan Ritzenhein, Desiree Davila-Linden, Amy Hastings, Nick Arciniaga, Jeffrey Eggleston and Fernando Cabada.

“We’ve witnessed performances by many of the world’s best marathoners at Boston, and seeing more Americans contend in recent years – and ultimately win – always adds to the anticipation and the excitement for our runners, our spectators and all of our audiences,” said Boston Athletic Association executive director Tom Grilk.

Keflezighi is one of USA’s most decorated marathoners. In 2014 he beat the fastest elite men’s field ever assembled for the Boston Marathon to become the first US male winner since 1983. Before the start of the race, Keflezighi wrote the names of the victims of the 2013 race day tragedy on his number and said he was determined and inspired to win to honour all of those affected.

“I am so excited to run the 2015 Boston Marathon,” said Keflezighi, the 2004 Olympic silver medallist and 2009 New York Marathon winner. “My win at the 2014 Boston Marathon will always be the most significant victory of my career. But I still aspire to get the best out of myself, run personal bests, win races and inspire all people to get the best out of themselves in running and in life.  There is no better platform for these goals than the Boston Marathon.”

Flanagan, who last year ran the fastest time ever by a US woman on the course (2:22:02), is also set to return to Boston. Leading for most of the way last year, she was instrumental in pushing ten women to run faster than 2:24:00 for the first time in the history of the sport. After Boston, Flanagan placed third at the Berlin Marathon in 2:21:14 and set a US 25km record along the way.

“Boston brings out the best in you, because it demands the best of you,” said Flanagan, the 2008 Olympic 10,000m bronze medallist. “I grew up on the sidelines of this race and from the intimidating course to the fierce competition, this marathon represents at its very core what it means to run with everything you have. Last year that’s what I did and this year will be no different, because this is Boston and that’s just what you do.”

Ritzenhein will be making his Boston Marathon debut. The 2009 world half-marathon bronze medallist is the third-fastest US marathon runner of all time and he is coached by 1982 Boston Marathon champion Alberto Salazar.

“The Boston Marathon is the most iconic marathon in the world and I can't wait to toe the line this year,” said Ritzenhein, recent winner of the Campaccio cross-country meeting. “I have wanted to run Boston for a very long time and I will give it everything I have on race day.”

Davila-Linden, the fourth-fastest US marathon runner of all time, returns to Boston seeking another chance at the title. In 2011 she narrowly missed winning the race by two seconds, running a then US course record of 2:22:38. Last year in Boston she ran 2:23:54 and followed it with a fifth-place finish in New York City.

“The 2014 Boston Marathon really changed the game for women's marathon running,” she said. “Running respectable there and finishing a distant 10th really kept me hungry all year and raised my own level of expectations. After a consistent 2014, I've built great momentum and feel like a breakthrough is possible this spring.”

Hastings joins Linden and Flanagan for her Boston Marathon debut. At the Chicago Marathon last year, Hastings finished fifth as she matched her 2:27:03 best.

Arciniaga also returns to Boston after finishing seventh last year. The 31-year-old won the US marathon title in 2013 and competed in the marathon at the 2011 World Championships.

Eggleston returns after finishing eighth overall last year in Boston, after which he finished runner up at the Gold Coast Marathon in a 2:10:52 personal best. Eggleston was the top US finisher in the marathon at the 2013 World Championships, where he placed 13th.

In 2014 Cabada improved his marathon best to 2:11:36 at the Berlin Marathon with an 11th-place finish. The former North American 25km record-holder won the US marathon title in 2008.

The complete international field for the 2015 Boston Marathon will be announced in mid-January.

Organisers for the IAAF

US elite fields

Men
Dathan Ritzenhein 2:07:47
Meb Keflezighi 2:08:37
Jeffrey Eggleston 2:10:52
Nicholas Arciniaga 2:11:30
Fernando Cabada 2:11:36

Women
Shalane Flanagan 2:21:14
Desiree Davila Linden 2:22:38
Amy Hastings 2:27:03