Kenyan runner Hellen Obiri won the 128th Boston Marathon on Monday, becoming the first woman to claim back-to-back titles since 2005.

She clocked a total time of 2 hours, 27 minutes, and 37 seconds in a women's division that race organizers described as "historically fast."

"Defending the title was not easy," Obiri said. "Since Boston started, it's only six women [that have repeated]. If you want to be one of them, you have to work extra hard. And I'm so happy because I'm now one of them — I'm now in the history books."

A two-time Olympic silver medalist and two-time 5000m world champion, Obiri is a clear favorite in this summer’s Paris Olympics.

“Last year I was pretty familiar to the marathon, but this year my training was perfect — we trusted everything we were doing,” Obiri said. “When we won last year, of course I was saying I’m going to win this one. Winning is like love. It’s something precious to me.”

Though, she wasn’t without a challenge. Fellow Kenyan Sharon Lokedi finished a mere eight seconds behind Obiri. Edna Kiplagat, who won the 2017 Boston Marathon, completed the podium sweep for Kenya with a third place finish.

Emma Bates, the race's top American finisher, came in 12th.

Obiri wasn't alone in making Boston Marathon history this year. The repeat champ walked away with $150,000 in total prize money allocated from a purse that topped $1 million for the first time ever. 

After winning the women’s 100m at USATF Nationals, Sha’Carri Richardson repeated a line that has guided her 2023 season: “I’m not back. I’m better.”

By winning the race at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, Richardson earned a spot at August’s World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, which will be her first major global championship. (Video of Richardson’s 100m win is embedded below.)

Richardson burst onto the scene in 2019 when set broke the 100m collegiate record at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships. She turned pro days later, but went on to place eighth at USATF Nationals, missing that year’s world championships.

Two years later, Richardson entered the 2021 season looking like the Olympic favorite. She won the women’s 100m at U.S. Olympic Trials, but that result was voided — and her Olympic spot revoked — after she tested positive for marijuana (which is banned in-competition).

Richardson struggled in 2022, missing out again on world championships after she was eliminated in the first round of the 100m at USATF Nationals. The Texas native later said she was dealing with injury.

But 2023 has been Richardson’s year. She opened the outdoor season by beating a stacked field — including five-time Olympic medalist Shericka Jackson of Jamaica and two-time Olympic medalist Dina Asher-Smith of Great Britain — to claim her first Diamond League win.

“I found my peace back on the track, and I’m not letting anything or anybody take that anymore,” Richardson said then.

During the preliminary round of the 100m in Eugene, Richardson clocked 10.71 — a new personal best and the fastest time by an American woman in 12 years. Only Jackson (10.65) has run faster this year.

While Richardson didn’t have the best start in the 100m final, she made up for it with a fierce kick, outsprinting Brittany Brown and Tamari Davis, who will also make their world championship debuts in Budapest. Richardson also has a chance to qualify for August’s World Championships in the 200m; she posted the fastest time in the preliminary round. The women’s 200m semifinals and final are on Sunday night.

Over the weekend, Richardson also took to Twitter to blast coverage of USATF Nationals and streaming issues on USATF.TV. She went on to call out FloTrack after the outlet tweeted “That’s how we do it!” about her 100m win.

Richardson replied with a GIF of Eddie Murphy from the 1999 movie Life: “We?!”

Entering Friday’s Florence Diamond League meet, Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon was already considered the best women’s 1500-meter runner in history. She won back-to-back Olympic gold medals in the event in 2016 and 2021, plus world titles in 2017 and 2022.

But the 29-year-old Kenyan solidified her G.O.A.T. status by clocking 3 minutes, 49.11 seconds to take nearly a second off the women’s 1500m world record. The previous mark, set by Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba in 2015, was 3:50.07.

“This was really important because this was something I was still missing in my career,” Kipyegon said. “Getting this, it will really motivate me. I left the legacy for the next generation – they can say she broke the world record, she was the Olympic and the world champion.”

Kipyegon is one of the most well-respected track and field athletes currently competing — and it showed on Friday. All of her competitors — including 2021 Olympic silver medalist Laura Muir — gathered around her to celebrate the accomplishment.

 

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(Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)

After the race, Kipyegon — who gave birth to daughter Alyn in June 2018 — dedicated her world record to “all the mothers.”

The world record was on Kipyegon’s mind entering Florence. Unlike at the Olympics and world championships, Diamond League races use pacers who help facilitate fast marks.

“After 1000 (meters), when the pacemaker went out, I just pushed myself towards the finish line,” Kipyegon said. “That was what my manager told me – anything is possible – after the pacemaker, just run your race. And that is what I did.”

Kipyegon nearly broke the world record last August, missing it by 0.3 seconds at a Diamond League stop in Monaco.

Sha’Carri Richardson made a statement on Friday, recording her biggest victory in two years. Competing at the first Diamond League stop of the season in Doha, Qatar, Richardson won the women’s 100m in 10.76 seconds, the world’s best time in 2023. It is also the first Diamond League victory of her career.

“I found my peace back on the track, and I’m not letting anything or anybody take that anymore,” Richardson said in her post-race interview.

Richardson defeated a field that included five-time Olympic medalist Shericka Jackson (2nd) and two-time Olympic medalist Dina Asher-Smith (3rd), plus fellow Americans TeeTee Terry (4th), Teahna Daniels (6th), Melissa Jefferson (7th) and Abby Steiner (8th). Video of the race is embedded below.

Richardson is the fourth fastest American woman all-time, behind Florence Griffith-Joyner (1988, 10.49), Carmelita Jeter (2009, 10.64), and Marion Jones (10.65, 1998). Richardson’s 100 meter personal best (wind legal) was recorded in April 2021 (10.72).

Still, the 23-year-old has yet to compete at a major global championship. Richardson, the 2019 NCAA champion, won the women’s 100m at U.S. Olympic Trials in 2021, but her result was disqualified after she tested positive for marijuana (a substance that is banned in-competition).

She struggled in 2022, failing to qualify for last year’s World Championships after she was eliminated in the first round of the 100m at USATF Outdoor Nationals.

But Richardson’s result on Friday is a promising sign for 2023. The biggest track and field competition this season is the World Championships, which will be held in Budapest, Hungary, in August. In order to qualify for the individual 100 meter race, Richardson will need to finish in the top three during the USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships in July.

“Y’all say I’m back,” Richardson said in an Instagram video ahead of the race in Doha. “I’m not back. I’m better.”

Former Olympic and world champion sprinter Tori Bowie has died at the age of 32, her management company said Wednesday.

The three-time Olympic medalist and former 100-meter world champion was found dead at her home in Florida. A cause of death has not been released. 

“We’re devastated to share the very sad news that Tori Bowie has passed away,” Icon Management said in a statement on Twitter. “We’ve lost a client, dear friend, daughter and sister. Tori was a champion … a beacon of light that shined so bright! We’re truly heartbroken and our prayers are with the family and friends.”

A member of Team USA, Bowie won gold at the 2016 Olympics as a member of the 4×100-meter relay team. She also won silver in the 100 and bronze in the 200 at those Games. In 2017, she added another relay gold at the World Athletics Championships, and won individual gold in the 100.

“I had no idea. All I knew was I wanted to give it everything I’ve got,” Bowie said after her victory. “Am I really world champion?”

Three-time Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce called Bowie a “great competitor” in a tribute on Twitter.

“My heart breaks for the family of Tori Bowie,” she wrote. “A great competitor and source of light. Your energy and smile will always be with me. Rest in peace.”

Bowie grew up in Sandhill, Mississippi, and was raised by her grandmother. While she first wanted to be a basketball player, she excelled at track and later attended Southern Miss. While there, she swept the long jump NCAA championships at the indoor and outdoor events in 2011.

After two stretch breaks and one near-collision with a motorbike, Sifan Hassan somehow managed to win the 2023 London Marathon on Sunday.

Competing in her marathon debut — against one of the deepest women’s fields in history — Hassan outsprinted Alemu Megertu of Ethiopia and Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya to cross the tape first.

“I just can’t believe I (won),” said Hassan, who then revised that statement. “Not win, I just can’t believe I finished (a) marathon.”

Hassan stopped twice during Sunday’s marathon to stretch her left hip and, with 11 miles left to go, was 28 seconds behind the lead pack. After catching back up, Hassan was then nearly taken out by a motorbike when she darted to the hydration station two miles left.

“This morning I was telling myself, I’m so stupid (to run a marathon). Why am I playing this kind of game? What the hell am I thinking that I want to run a marathon,” said Hassan, whose career was previously focused on the track. The Dutchwoman had an unprecedented showing at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, winning gold in the 5000m and 10,000m, and bronze in the 1500m.