Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir won the women’s title at the 126th Boston Marathon ©Getty Images

Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir won the women’s title at the 126th Boston Marathon and compatriot Evans Chebet made it a Kenyan double as he earned his first major marathon victory.

In the wheelchair races, Daniel Romanchuk of the United States and Switzerland’s Manuela Schär both finished well clear of all opposition in their respective races.

Jepchirchir, who beat compatriot and world record-holder Brigid Kosgei to Olympic gold last summer before winning the New York City Marathon, maintained her record of success after a compelling - and momentarily concerning - duel with Ethiopia's Ababel Yeshaneh.

The two raced on alone over the final five kilometres after Kenya’s 2021 London Marathon champion Joyciline Jepkosgei dropped out of contention.

Inside the final 2km Jepchirchir attempted to kick clear, but then dropped back behind her Ethiopian rival after appearing to have misjudged where the finish line was.

Battle was resumed over the final stages, even into the final straight, with Jepchirchir securing her fifth consecutive marathon victory in a time of 2 hours 21min 2sec, with Yeshaneh finishing four seconds behind.

There was in this a distinct echo of the epic 1982 men’s race in Boston where Alberto Salazar narrowly won a gripping contest with fellow American Dick Beardsley.

Kenyans filled the next two places as Mary Ngugi finished third in 2:21:32 and the 2011 and 2013 world champion Edna Kiplagat, 42 and a mother of five, was fourth in 2:21:40.

Kenya's Evans Chebet earned his first major marathon title in Boston ©Getty Images
Kenya's Evans Chebet earned his first major marathon title in Boston ©Getty Images

That compounded her outstanding record in Boston, where she won the 2017 title aged 37 and finished second two years later.

Chebet, 33, who became the seventh-fastest man in history when he earned the Valencia Marathon title in 2020 in a time of 2:03:00, earned his first World Marathon Majors win with two decisive kicks.

The first came with 7km to go, swiftly sorting out the bulk of the 15 runners in contention at that point, including Kenya’s 2017 and 2019 New York City Marathon winner Geoffrey Kamworor.

Tanzania’s Gabriel Geay was the only one to cover Chebet at this point, but another kick took the latter racer clear.

Meanwhile fellow Kenyan Lawrence Cherono moved up from the chasing group to overtake Geay, accompanied by defending champion Benson Kipruto.

Chebet, who failed to finish in his only previous participation in Boston in 2018, when the race was held in a rainstorm, crossed the line in 2:06:51, with Cherono 30 seconds behind and Kipruto third in 2:07:27 - completing an all-Kenyan podium - with Geay fourth in 2:07:53.

Speaking via a translator, Chebet said of his decisive move: "The coach told me that when you see other runners coming close to you, you have to run harder and leave them.

"I knew that my competitors were strong so I was trying really hard to stay ahead of them.

"When I opened a gap, I was able to slow down a little bit."

Romanchuk, who won in Boston in 2019 and won Paralympic 400 metres gold and marathon bronze last year, finished almost six minutes clear of his nearest challenger in 1:26:58.

Paralympic marathon champion and five-time Boston winner Marcel Hug of Switzerland pulled out on the morning of the race after coming down with coronavirus-like symptoms.

His fellow Swiss racer, Schär, won by a similar margin, finishing more than five minutes ahead to claim her fourth Boston triumph and a 15th World Marathon Majors success in a time of 1:48:08.