C.J. Albertson Fastest American at Boston Marathon

(Photo courtesy of CJ Albertson)

April 18, 2024 – The 128th edition of the famed, exciting, and always intriguing Boston Marathon, celebrated on the hilly streets of Boston on Monday, April 15th, had a little for all long-distance enthusiasts to get their teeth into.

Nearly 30,000 runners started the race, but it was Sisay Lemme of Ethiopia who crossed the finish line first in a speedy 2 hours 6 minutes and 17 seconds, the 10th fastest time ever at Boston.

Lemme led most of the race with a blistering pace in trying to break the Boston Marathon record of 2:03.02 set by his countryman Geofray Mutai in 2011. However, his pace of 4:35 per mile at mid race slowed to 5:00 at the end.  He missed the record by over three minutes.

Fellow Ethiopian Muhammed Esa finished second at 2:06.58. Third went to Kenyan Evans Chabet who had won the Boston Marathon the last two years. He clocked 2:07.22.

The first American to finish Boston this year

While he did not win the event, Clovis’ C.J. Albertson added to his growing notoriety as one of our country’s elite distance runners by being the first American to finish the marathon. His clocking of 2:09.53, a personal record for C.J., was good enough for 7th place.

Based on his training and how his body felt, he projected he would probably run around 2:09.51 at Boston. He was only 2 seconds off his prediction.

How was he able to get a PR on such a hilly course? “I handle the hills pretty well,” C.J. explained.  “That’s why I’m able to run basically my fastest times at Boston. It’s easy to run fast when you’re having fun.”

The weather conditions, which always have a lot to do on the results of a marathon, were relatively good. Though it was sunny, it was not hot, but it was humid. “The wind actually felt cool—there was some tailwind, but I felt the cross wind, much more,” he informs.

Since the start of 2020, C.J. has run 10 marathons with clocking either 2:10 or 2:11. How does he feel about finally joining the sub 2:10 club?  “It’s good to get the monkey off my back,” he says with a wide smile.

This was C.J.’s fourth Boston Marathon. He had previously finished 10th, 13th, and 12th from 2021 to 2023.

Women’s race was tactical

While Lemme ran a “catch me if you can” type of race, the women’s race was tactical. No one was willing to go out quickly and be chased. A tight knit group of about 20 runners ran together most of the race. But, as the finish line got closer, renowned track distance runner Hellen Obiri and fellow Kenyan Sharon Lokedi kicked it into high gear and left the group behind. Obiri, who has had outstanding success in track distance events, pulled away with a strong finish—clocking 2:22.37. In that manner, she defended her Boston Marathon title from last year. Lokedi finished second in 2:22.45—only 8 seconds behind Obiri.

The two Boston Marathon champions, Lemme and Obiri, received $150,000 each for their winning efforts.