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The elite fields for the 2023 Boston Marathon are out, and this Patriots’ Day is looking extra spicy. With 16 women who have run faster than 2:21 and an incredible nine women who have broken 2:20 for 26.2 miles, it’s the deepest field in race history.
Because of Boston’s tactical racing vibe without pacemakers and, of course, the difficult, hilly course, only five times has the women’s winner broken 2:22. But with the stellar field assembled for this year, Buzunesh Deba’s 2014 course record of 2:19:58 could definitely be in danger on April 17.
Reigning world champion Gotytom Gebreslase of Ethiopia headlines the field after running a personal best of 2:18:11 at the Eugene championship this past summer. The 27-year-old won the 2021 Berlin Marathon in her debut at the distance and has finished no worse than third at Abbott World Marathon Majors, placing third in both the Tokyo and New York City Marathons in 2022.
She’ll be challenged by countrywoman Amane Beriso, who was the surprise winner of December’s Valencia Marathon in 2:14:58 — the third-fastest time in history. Beriso’s 12th-place at the 2016 Boston Marathon is her only finish at an Abbott World Marathon Major, so this will be an interesting test for the 31-year-old.
The top two women from the 2022 New York City Marathon will make their debut in Boston. Sharon Lokedi of Kenya, who competed in the NCAA system for the University of Kansas, was the surprise winner last fall in her marathon debut ahead of Israel’s Lonah Salpeter, who earned runner-up honors in New York to go with her impressive bronze medal performance at last summer’s World Athletics Championships.
The second- and third-place finishers from the 2022 Boston Marathon will return in the hopes of winning their first crown: Ababel Yeshaneh of Ethiopia and Mary Ngugi of Kenya; as will three former champions: American Des Linden (2018), Kenyan Edna Kiplagat (2017, 2021), and Ethiopian Atsede Baysa (2016).
Of the 16 women in the field who have run faster than 2:21, Sara Hall is the only American. Her personal best of 2:20:32, set in 2020 at the Marathon Project, is the fourth-fastest time in U.S. history, and she set the American record in the half marathon in Houston last year (since improved upon by Emily Sisson).
Hall will turn 40 years old two days before the Boston Marathon, but age is just a number for her. She was fifth at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene last summer, third at the 2021 Chicago Marathon and second at the 2020 London Marathon.
American fans will also eagerly anticipate the return of Aliphine Tuliamuk to the elite racing scene. The Hoka NAZ Elite athlete was the surprise winner of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials, then gave birth to her first child during the pandemic when the Olympics were postponed. She finally raced in Tokyo seven months after giving birth, but could not complete the race. The past fall, she showed she’s still a force to be reckoned with as she finished as the top American in New York City with a seventh-place finish in a new PR of 2:26:18.
Emma Bates, seventh at the 2022 world championships in a new PR of 2:23:18, eighth in New York last fall and the runner-up at the 2021 Chicago Marathon, will also be a top American entrant after another strong year of marathon racing.
Nell Rojas has finished as the top American in the past two editions of the Boston Marathon, placing fifth in 2:27:12 in 2021 and tenth in a new PR of 2:25:57 in 2022. She earned a Nike sponsorship deal last year and has been training in Iten, Kenya this winter, eager to run Boston for the third time in 19 months.
“I’m very excited to return to Boston once again,” Rojas said in a BAA press release. “The excitement of the city and fans, quality of the professional field, and challenging course keeps drawing me back!”
Dakotah Lindwurm (winner of Grandma’s Marathon in 2022 in a 2:25:01 PR), Laura Thweatt (fifth at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials with a 2:25:38 PR from 2017, Annie Frisbie (seventh in New York in 2021 in a 2:26:18 PR), Sara Vaughn (seventh in Chicago last fall in 2:26:23 PR) and Erika Kemp (making her debut) are more American names to watch.