Here are my thoughts on the 2015 Boston Women's Elite field. Last year, I made the big Jeptoo prediction, which is now marred by her more recent failed drug test. So disappointing. Anyway, there are only 14 elite women this year, 4 of them Americans. I think there's a pretty low chance for a course record. Headwind today.
On the American front, all the money seems to be on Shalene. How cool would it be to have a victory for the American men in 2014, and then the American women in 2015? Among the elite women's field, Deba and Dibaba, both from Ethiopia, are the likely favorites. But while the elite field is fast, not a lot of them had strong marathons in 2014. Even more so than with the men's field, a lot of the fastest of the fast women are in London next week. I feel like part of that sets up Shalene nicely. And if the Americans can't win Boston this year, then we have to wait two years since I don't think there's any chance for an American win next year (just given the timing of the trials). So I think that's a good reason to bank on Shalene.
But I still can't really predict Shalene to win, though it would be awesome. I definitely think she will be top 5.
For the win, I'm going with Buzunesh Deba. Thanks to that whole doping thing with Rita, Deba is actually going to be sporting bib number 1 today. She was not far behind Rita last year, it will be interesting to see how she does as more of a favorite. She's got a lot of depth of experience at the marathon level, and I think her altitude training may pay off with a win for her this year. I like Cherop's and Kilel's course experience (and of the two, I'm leaning toward Cherop), and I think either of them could run strong. But I also think it's an uphill (haha, downhill) battle for them as I worry they've both peaked.
I can't pick Dibaba because I just don't think she's going to be fresh enough, having already had a 2015 win (and may have left it all out there), though I realize I'm predicting a men's champion with the same issue.
Joyce Chepkirui is someone I like because she lives and trains in Iten, so I'll put her as my second choice. She's not much of a marathoner based on her credentials right now, but I think she has a good chance of putting her name in the books today. She's like Shalene with solid track experience, so depending on how the race plays out, it could go very well for her.
To watch for next year: Aberu Kebede of Ethiopia. It's her first Boston, otherwise I would absolutely pick her this year. She ran strong in Dubai, but I'm guessing she can do more. Heck, strike what I said about watching her next year. Watch her this year.
I will note that I'm also going to be tracking female elite Kris Lawrence (not in the "elite" field, but elite enough to be in the elite women's start with an F on her bib!). I've read her blog for a long time and so I'm aware that she says she's not going to be setting any PR or getting her OTQ time at this race due to some injuries earlier this training season that necessitated her taking some time off, but I'm still excited to track her and wish her all the best.