For most of the Boston Marathon, Emma Bates ran in the lead pack.
She ran alongside major marathon champion Lona Salpeter. She ran alongside former half marathon world record holder Abel Yeshaneh. And she ran alongside two-time Olympic medalist Helen Obiri. Helen Obiri finished the race on Monday to win her first marathon.
However, shortly after Obiri’s victory, Bates crossed the line in 5th place, the best ever finish by an American woman. Bates, of Elk River, Minnesota, battled the final mile and completed the course in 2:22:10, a personal best of over a minute.
Bates later said that he did not expect to be out so late. Her coach advised her to stay in the chasing pack, focus on getting behind the best female and then run to the end, she said.
“But I loved it the whole time.” Bates said. “I got to Mile 20 and I was still ahead. I looked at my coach at Mile 20 and said, ‘Looks like I’m ahead,’ and he said, ‘Just do it.’
After finishing second in Chicago in 2021, the 30-year-old Bates has secured qualification for the 2024 Olympics in Paris and cemented her position as a top contender at the Games next February.
The best American male finisher was Scott Fobble, who finished 7th for the third time in the last 5 Boston Marathons. The 31-year-old Fauble clocked 2:09:44, 21 seconds behind world record holder Eliud Kipchoge, who finished sixth.
“I was focused on winning my group and finishing as high as possible,” said Fauble. “I didn’t know it was Kipchoge until later.”