Boston Marathon: Blasts take spotlight away from winners

2013-04-16T00:00:00Z Boston Marathon: Blasts take spotlight away from winnersThe Associated Press The Associated Press
April 16, 2013 12:00 am  • 

BOSTON - About three hours after Lelisa Desisa and Rita Jeptoo crossed the line to win the Boston Marathon titles, two bomb blasts near the finish shattered the post-race euphoria of what had been an uneventful 117th edition of the world's oldest and most prestigious annual marathon.

At least three people were killed and scores more injured, some seriously. Runners still on the course were diverted to the Boston Common; race officials said 4,496 runners had crossed the checkpoint at more than 24 miles but did not make it to the finish line.

A year after record high temperatures sent unprecedented numbers of participants to the medical tent, temperatures in the high 40s greeted the field of 23,326 at the Hopkinton starting line. It climbed to 54 degrees by the time the winners reached Boston's Copley Square.

In the men's race, Ethiopia's Desisa, 23, won a three-way sprint down Boylston Street to finish in 2 hours, 10 minutes, 22 seconds and snap a string of three straight Kenyan victories.

"Here we have a relative newcomer," said Ethiopia's Gebregziabher Gebremariam, who finished third.

In just his second race at 26.2 miles, Desisa finished 5 seconds ahead of Kenya's Micah Kogo to earn $150,000 and the traditional olive wreath. American Jason Hartmann finished fourth for the second year in a row.

"The Ethiopians run very good tactical races," defending champion Wesley Korir, a Kenyan citizen and U.S. resident, said after finishing fifth. "One thing I always say is, 'Whenever you see more than five Ethiopians in a race, you ought to be very careful.' As Kenyans, we ought to go back to the drawing board and see if we can get our teamwork back."

Jeptoo, 32, of Kenya won the women's race for the second time. Jeptoo, who also won in 2006, finished in 2:26:25 for her first victory 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 seconds or less separating the top two - Jeptoo had a safe 33-second margin over Ethiopia's Meseret Hailu. Defending champ Sharon Cherop of Kenya was another 3 seconds back.

Shalane Flanagan, of nearby Marblehead, was fourth in the women's division in her attempt to earn the first U.S. victory in Boston since 1985. (Two-time winner Joan Benoit Samuelson, running on the 30th anniversary of her 1983 victory, finished in 2:50:29 to set a world record for her age group.)

Kara Goucher, of Portland, Ore., was sixth for her third top 10 finish in Boston as many tries. The last American woman to win here was Lisa Larsen-Weidenbach in '85; Greg Meyer was the last U.S. man to win, in 1983.

"That's a good team of American women," said Goucher, one of five U.S. women with personal bests under 2:30 on Monday. "One day the opportunity is going to be there."

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