Celebration and Sadness in the World of Marathoning

On the same day a man ran the fastest marathon ever, the pioneer of women’s marathoning passed away. Kenya’s Geoffrey Mutai and the legendary Grete Waitz of Norway are now linked in history.

Mutai won the Boston Marathon in 2:03:06, besting the previous time of 2:03:59, set in September 2008 in Berlin by Ethiopia’s Haile Gebrselassie. The legendary Grete Waitz, 9-time winner of the NYC Marathon and multi-time world record holder at various running distances, died after a 6-year-long battle with cancer.

In the women’s race in Boston, Caroline Kilel of Kenya crossed the finish line in 2:22:36, the fastest time since the course record was set in 2002 (2:20:43). American Desire Davila, 27, who led briefly with about 400 meters to go, finished second, four seconds behind Kilel, and the fastest American time ever for the event.

American Ryan Hall’s 2:04:57 was good for a new American men’s record. Mutai’s time will be called a World Best, as road races cannot technically have world records, due to the vast differences in terrain and types of courses.

Although there was a huge tailwind in the race, our running expert Paul Friedman, training advisor to PSH CEO Thomas Hofstetter and 5th place in the Boston Marathon at age 21 responded by saying, “You still have to spin those legs.”

The story of Grete Waitz is a long and dramatic one, which PSH will document as the tributes pour in. And while London and Boston races are celebrated, the world mourns the loss of a remarkable athlete and human being in Grete Waitz.


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