Given how well she was training, Emma Bates believed she could finish among the top five women in Monday's Boston Marathon. The Elk River native made it happen, even if it didn't play out quite as she expected.

Bates planned to stay behind the pacesetters and unleash a big late move. Instead, she found herself in front at the 25-kilometer mark, leading one of the most talented fields in race history. Though she dropped back in the final two miles, Bates finished fifth overall—and first among Americans—in the women's elite field.

Hellen Obiri of Kenya made a late surge to win the women's crown on a rainy, raw day. Another Kenyan, Evans Chebet, repeated as the men's champion.

About 30,000 runners took part in the 127th edition of the race, on the 10th anniversary of a bombing that killed three people near the finish line.

Though Bates has climbed into the elite ranks of U.S. women marathoners, she had never run Boston until Monday. She finished in two hours, 22 minutes, 10 seconds, the second-fastest Boston Marathon ever by an American woman. She lowered her personal record by more than a minute, and her time met the qualifying standard for next year's Paris Olympics.

Before the race, Bates said, coach Joe Bosshard instructed her not to go out with the leaders. But when he saw her in front at the 20-mile mark, he told her to "go for it," sound advice on a day when she felt fresh and fit.

"I was at mile 20, looking at my coach like, 'I don't know what's happening, but I guess we'll go with it,'" Bates, 30, told reporters in a post-race news conference. "It was really surreal for the longest time.

"I expected myself to be in the top five. I expected to put myself into contention to win. So that wasn't a surprise, that I was able to be as far up there as I was and to run the time that I did. But when it comes to fruition, it's always a big deal."

Several years ago, when Bates trained in Boston, she didn't envision her career rising to this level. A 12-time All-America runner for Boise State, she won the U.S. women's marathon title in 2018, then ran second in the 2021 Chicago Marathon for her first podium finish in a World Marathon Major event. Last year, Bates was seventh at the world championships in Eugene, Ore.

She now trains in Boulder, Colo., where she prepared for Boston on a similar course. Racing with a lead pack of about 10 runners on Monday, Bates expected things "to get really hard" halfway through the race, but she continued to feel good. As the lead group dwindled to five, Bates stuck with them before dropping off the pace at mile 24.

Obiri, a two-time world champion in the 5,000 meters, won in 2:21:38. Amane Beriso of Ethiopia was second and Lonah Salpeter of Israel was third.

"I really stuck my nose in it, hoping I would maybe get a win," Bates said. "But in the last two miles, I couldn't hang that much. But I'm very proud of myself. It was a really good day."

Bates added that the fifth-place finish — worth $18,000, from a total purse of $879,500 — provides momentum for upcoming races, including the U.S. Olympic marathon trials next February in Orlando, Fla.

Chebet won the men's race in 2:05:54 and earned $150,000. Eliud Kipchoge, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and world record holder, finished sixth in his Boston debut. Scott Fauble led the American men in seventh place.

Other Minnesotans in the elite fields included Park Rapids native Aaron Pike, who was fourth in the men's wheelchair race, and Minnesota Distance Elite athletes Annie Frisbie and Dakotah Lindwurm, who were 20th and 27th in the women's race.

The Star Tribune did not send the writer of this article to the event. This was written using a broadcast, interviews and other material.