Cheruiyot smashes Boston record; Erkesso wins thrilling duel
Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot sliced over a minute from the Boston Marathon course record on Monday, clocking 2:05:52 to win the 114th edition of this famous race on a chill day in New England. The Kenyan left the Ethiopian runner-up Tekeste Kebede more than a minute adrift and last year's winner Deriba Merga third in 2:08:39.
But there was joy for Ethiopia too, as Teyba Erkesso defied a home-straight challenge from Russia's Tatyana Pushkareva to win the women's crown by three seconds in 2:26:11. The defending champion Salina Kosgei of Kenya took third in 2:28:35.
On a dramatic day of distance running on the undulating course from Hopkinton to central Boston, the men's champion shares the same name but is a different athlete to Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot who would have been aiming for a fifth title but was forced to withdraw with injury.
This year's champion won Frankfurt in 2008 and finished second there last year, but this was by far his most significant achievement and a personal best by 31 seconds. Cheruiyot and Merga led the pack over the renowned Newton Hills which begin at around 32 kilometres but the Kenyan began to move clear at the top of Heartbreak Hill and at the finish took one minute 22 seconds from the course record set by his namesake in 2006. Merga was overtaken by fellow Ethiopian Tekeste Kebede who finished second in 2:07:23.
Having led in the early stages, as he did last year, USA's Ryan Hall finished fourth in 2:08:41, the fastest American performance in 16 years, while his compatriot and 2009 New York Marathon champion Meb Kelfezighi finished fifth in 2:09:26.
The women's race produced a thrilling finish as Erkesso held off a late charge by Pushkareva. Erkesso shared the lead at half-way (1:14:52) with two compatriots, the 2008 champion, Dire Tune, and Koren Jelela Yal.
Erkesso led by over a minute at 30km but Pushkareva closed the gap to a handful of seconds as they hit the finishing straight. Erkesso prevailed but the Russian lopped more than four minutes off her personal best. Kosgei lost her title but beat Ethiopia's Waynishet Girma by one second to claim third place.
After this race Cheruiyot and Keflizeghi share third place in the World Marathon Majors series, on 26 points apiece, with Deriba Merga in second on 35, while Olympic champion Sammy Wanjiru still leads with 50. Wanjiru will look to extend his lead when he defends his London Marathon title on Sunday (25 April).
In the women's series, Erkesso has moved up to fourth on 30 points while Kosgei is now second with 36, four adrift of the leader Irina Mikitenko who will also defnd her London crown on Sunday.
1 Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot KEN 2:05:52
2 Tekeste Kebede ETH 2:07:23
3 Deriba Merga ETH 2:08:39
4 Ryan Hall USA 2:08:41
5 Meb Keflezighi USA 2:09:26
6 Gashaw Asfaw ETH 2:10:53
7 John Komen KEN 2:11:48
8 Moses Kigen Kipkosgei KEN 2:12:04
9 Jason Lehmkuhle USA 2:12:24
10 Alejandro Suarez MEX 2:12:33
1 Teyba Erkesso ETH 2:26:11
2 Tatyana Pushkareva RUS 2:26:14
3 Salina Kosgei KEN 2:28:35
4 Waynishet Girma ETH 2:28:36
5 Bruna Genovese ITA 2:29:12
6 Lidiya Grigoryeva RUS 2:30:31
7 Yurika Nakamura JPN 2:30:40
8 Sun Weiwei CHN 2:31:14
9 Nailya Yulamanova RUS 2:31:48
10 Albina Mayorova-Ivanova RUS 2:31:55
For more on the Boston Marathon go to www.baa.org
For more on the World Marathon Majors go to www.worldmarathonmajors.com