Kenyan, Ethiopian Take Marathon Laurels – The Boston Channel

April 19th, 2010 Print Print Email Email

Boston Marathon winners Robert Cheruiyot of Kenya and Teyba Erkesso of Ethiopia pose together near the finish line after the 114th running of the Boston Marathon. (more…)

Boston Marathon winners Robert Cheruiyot of Kenya and Teyba Erkesso of Ethiopia pose together near the finish line after the 114th running of the Boston Marathon.

Kenyan Robert Cheruiyot set a new course record Monday in his late race charge to victory in the 114th Boston Marathon. In the women’s race, Ethiopia’s Teyba Erkesso held off a surge from Russia’s Tatyana Pushkareva to take the win.

The name Cheruiyot is not new to the Boston Marathon’s record books. Monday’s winner shares the name with an unrelated marathoner who has won the race four times. In his victory Monday, Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot broke the record set in 2006 by four-time winner Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot.

Cheruiyot’s unofficial time was 2 hours, 5 minutes, 52 seconds, finishing 91 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Tekeste Kebede of Ethiopia. Defending champion Deriba Merga was third, followed by Americans Ryan Hall and Meb Keflezighi.

On the women’s side, Erkesso won in an unofficial time of 2 hours, 26 minutes, 11 seconds, three seconds ahead of Pushkareva — the third-closest women’s finish in event history.

Japan’s Yurika Nakamura jumped out to an early lead as the group of 55 runners’ lead pack was whittled down to about 10. But by about the halfway mark, Erkesso and fellow Ethiopians Dire Tune and Koren Jelela Yal took command, breaking away from the rest of the field. Around mile 16, Erkesso took the lead for good, holding off Pushkareva.

Americans hoping to snap a 25-year winless streak at the Boston Marathon were kept on the edge of their seats Monday as local favorite Hall traded the lead with top African marathoners. But they will have to wait at least one more year, as Hall faded in the last third of the race and came home fourth.

Hall led a pack of about 20 runners early, but by mile 9, he had slipped back, overtaken by last year’s winner, Deriba Merga of Ethiopia, and this year’s eventual winner Cheruiyot. Hall rebounded a few miles later to reclaim the lead position, but fell back again behind the lead pack.

The drama was not just limited to the running races. Holding off a late charge from the United States’ Krige Schabort, Ernst Van Dyk won his ninth Boston Marathon men’s wheelchair race on Monday, making him the winningest competitor in the race’s history.

Van Dyk won in 1 hour, 26 minutes and 53 seconds, edging Schabort by just four seconds.

Van Dyk was briefly passed by Japan’s Kota Hokinoue in Wellesley, but he resumed the lead in Newton. Schabort and Van Dyk repeatedly exchanged the lead in the final stretch before the South African pulled away into the record books.

A short time later, Wakako Tsuchida of Japan won her fourth-straight race in the women’s wheelchair division. Tsuchida finished in 1 hour, 43 minutes, 32 seconds, comfortably ahead of Diane Roy of Canada, but more than nine minutes off the world record.

Hall and Keflezighi both hoped to become the first American winner of the race since 1985, when Lisa Larsen Weidenback won the women’s championship.

Hall finished third in last year’s Boston Marathon and 10th in the Olympic Marathon in Beijing. He is the second fastest American marathoner of all time.

Keflezighi, who started running at the age of 12, has won the 2009 New York City Marathon, finished third in the Boston Marathon in 2006, and second in the Olympic Marathon in Athens in 2004.

Michelle Frey was the only US woman in the elite group.

Unfortunately, hundreds of runners were not able to get to Boston after ash from an Icelandic volcano kept planes in Europe grounded since last Thursday.

“They can’t reschedule. They can’t reroute because the airports remain closed, as you know. We’ll get some in for sure, but we are still looking at 300 to 500 who won’t make it,” said Guy Morse, of the Boston Athletic Association.

Hans Peter was on one of the last flights out of Munich last week. But his running partner is grounded.

“Poor guy. He was training, and the qualification for Boston is very hard. He met all the standards and now he’s sitting there,” Peter said.

The oldest competitor in this year’s race was an 83-year-old woman from Amsterdam, N.Y., who is competing in her third-consecutive Boston Marathon.

The marathon’s course winds its way from Hopkinton through the Boston suburbs of Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, Newton and Brookline before reaching the finish line in the hear of Copley Square.

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