Ethiopia’s Desisa, Kenya’s Jeptoo Win in Boston

Jimmy Golen, Macomb Daily, April 15, 2013

Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia took the title in the 117th edition of the Boston Marathon on Monday, winning a three-way sprint down Boylston Street to finish in 2 hours, 10 minutes, 22 seconds.

In just his second race at the 26.2-mile distance, Desisa finished 5 seconds ahead of Kenya’s Micah Kogo to earn $150,000 and the traditional olive wreath. Gebregziabher Gebremariam of Ethiopia was another second behind him, in third place, with American Jason Hartmann matching his 2012 finish by coming in fourth.

Rita Jeptoo won the women’s race earlier for her second Boston victory. Jeptoo, who also won in 2006, finished in 2:26:25 for her first win in a major race since taking two years off after having a baby.

After a series of close finishes in the women’s race — five consecutive years with 3 or fewer seconds separating the top two — Jeptoo had a relatively comfortable 33-second lead over Meseret Hailu of Ethiopia, with defending champion Sharon Cherop of Kenya another 3 seconds back. American Shalane Flanagan, of nearby Marblehead, was fourth in the women’s division.

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Desisa was among a group of nine men — all from Kenya or Ethiopia — who broke away from the pack in the first half of the race. There were three remaining when they came out of Kenmore Square with a mile to go.

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He is the fourth Ethiopian to win the men’s race and the 24th East African to win in the past 26 years. Jeptoo is the third straight Kenyan woman to win and the 15th East African winner in the last 17 years on the women’s side.

Lisa Larsen-Weidenbach, who won in 1985, is the last American champion; 1983 winner Greg Meyer was the last American man to break the tape.

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